Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Review and give-away: Invisible Lives (Banerjee)



  

Author: Anjali Banerjee
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 278
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

FTC Disclosure: I got this book from the author
Challenges: South Asian Author (#1), TBR (#1) and Rainbow (I)

Summary: (from the inside flap): Lakshmi Sen was born with a magical ability to perceive the secret longings in others. Putting aside her own dreams to help run her widowed mother's struggling Seattle sari shop, Mystic Elegance, Lakshmi knows exactly how to bring happiness to customers--from lonely immigrants to starry-eyed brides. And to honor her father's dying wish, she has agreed to marry a respectable Indian doctor who will uphold her family's traditions.


But when a famous Indian actress chooses Mystic Elegance to provide her wedding trousseau, Lakshmi finds herself falling for the actresses' sexy chauffeur--all-American Nick Dunbar--and her powers seem to desert her just as she needs them most. As Nick draws Lakshmi into his world, however, new dreams awaken in her, and she begins to uncover deeper, startling longings in her mother, her friends, her fiance, and even herself. But choosing between Nick and her fiance seems an impossible task, like intuiting the very nature of true love. Is it instantly recognizable or does it need time to grow? And how can she possibly know for sure?

Review: I must admit right up front that Anjali Banerjee and I went to high school together. We didnt' know one another all that well, but have connected as adults. When I found out she was an author I was SO excited. And, she writes about India, a country I really enjoyed when I visited it. The first book of Anjali's that I read was Maya Running, which is youth lit. I liked it so much that I've also read Looking for Bapu (youth lit), Imaginary Men, and now, Invisible Lives. I've enjoyed them all!



What I like about the books is that they are about the culture, traditions, and people of India but they are set in the US with forays to India so we get the best of both worlds. The books are fun, funny, serious, engaging, and interesting with characters that I feel for and like as people.


In Invisible Lives Lakshmi is faced with a problem/decision that I think is quite common for children of immigrants: should they stick to the customs and traditions of their parents or go with those of their new home, the United States? I have a number of friends who have dealt with this and it is never easy. Parents want an arranged marriage or a marriage to someone from the same country/race/background while the "children" meet a myriad of people from all different cultures. This book shows the tension within the main character as she is pulled not only by family members and friends, but by her heart and her own wishes and desires. Anjali pulled me in with her easy writing style, interesting characters, and issues to which we can all relate.


Anjali sent me a signed copy of Invisible Lives to give away so...enter below by filling in the form and on January 22 I'll randomly choose a winner.


5 comments:

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Nice review! I would definitely love to have her talent, lol. :)

Booksnyc said...

Thanks for this review. I am definitely interested in the book and will get my form submitted once I blog about your giveaway.

When did you visit India? I just got home today from a three week trip there - what an amazing country!

Kirthi said...

Being Indian myself, I'd really enjoy this book! Great giveaway!

hcmurdoch said...

Booksncy, I was in India a very long time ago (1978) but still have fond memories of it! We were in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bombay, Jaipur, and other cities.

Christina T said...

I am really looking forward to reading this book for the POC challenge. I read Imaginary Men and loved it. Being the child of immigrants from Sri Lanka I can totally relate to the character's difficulty in dealing with the arranged marrage argument among other things. When I first discovered Indian-American lit I thought "Wow, I'm not the only one!" when it came to family relationships between the older generation and mine.

Thank you for sharing your review of this book! It's neat that you know the author.