Thursday, March 17, 2016
The Golden Son
Recently I spent the better part of a Saturday curled up on the couch reading Shilpi Somaya Gowda's second novel, The Golden Son. I hate to admit that her first novel, Secret Daughter, is still sitting on my TBR stack, but that will soon be remedied.
Anil is the oldest son in his Indian family. His father has high expectations for him and supports his son's dream of studying medicine and becoming a doctor, despite the fact that he will have to move to the United States to realize this dream.
Leena has known Anil her entire life, they have always been close friends. While Anil is off pursuing his medical degree, Leena's life involves an arranged marriage to an abusive husband and dishonorable family. It is not until she nearly dies at the hands of her husband that she flees, returning to her family, despite the disgrace it will bring them.
As Anil works in a hospital in Dallas, Texas, he struggles to fit in, learning quickly the ins and outs of life in America. His return trips to India leave his dissatisfied with life there and with the realization that he doesn't truly fit in in either place.
Gowda surprised me with this novel. I was worried at first that this would have a very predictable ending, especially after Leena's marriage is so horrible. I feel like I've read several stories that have that in common. However, Gowda's story takes a few twists that seem more realistic to me than the easy happily ever after route she could have taken.
Although the book is titled The Golden Son, there is plenty of Leena's story within its pages, and also a great deal about life in India.
I'm sorry I missed Gowda's earlier novel, but won't wait very long to pick up The Secret Daughter. I'm already anxious to see what she writes next.