Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Hindi-Bindi Club - Monica Pradhan

I picked this up after reading the blurb about it:
Between mothers and daughters
lies a very special world:

Follow the relationships of two very different generations of women with everything to learn from each other...

For decades, they've gathered together, dressed in saris and sweater sets, to share recipes, arguments, and laughter. They are the Hindi-Bindi Club, a nickname given by their American daughters to the mothers who left India to start life anew. Daughters, now grown, and facing struggles of their own.

Kiran, Preity, and Rani are coming home for the holidays. Home to the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and of course, to the Hindi-Bindi Club. For what holiday would be complete without their mother hens' mouthwatering food, their gossip - and their unsolicited advice? For Kiran, a successful career can't fill the void left by her estrangement from her parents. Five years and one divorce later, she's ready to mend fences... and find a new husband the old-fashioned way. Good girl Preity's marriage is nearly perfect, but lately she's haunted by the memory of her first love-and her mother's interference in that romance. Then there's Rani, the wild child with the brains of a rocket scientist - and the weight of a dark burden she's carried all her life.

Now, as East meets West across time and tradition, six women will take their first steps toward true sisterhood, shattering long-kept secrets, sharing joy and tears, and allowing the real power of the Hindi-Bindi Club to take hold.
I really liked this book. First of all, while there are romantic elements in it, the story is founded
firmly on the relationships between mothers and daughters. Each of the six main characters gets a turn at being the narrator, and I enjoyed seeing inside the head of each one, as well as seeing how they were perceived by the others. The tone also changes with the narrator, which worked for me.

While the story is set within the Indian culture, I think the themes are universal. In terms of understanding references etc, the author does a great job of explaining things (actually, my only (minor) complaint would be that perhaps not all the explanation was necessary, but then again, to be fair, this could be because being of Indian descent, I knew a lot of things already). It's definitely very accessible and the writing is so easy to read.

Also, The Hindi-Bindi Club's subtitle is "A Novel with Recipes" and there are lots of recipes in between the chapters, which might be of interest to the cooks among you. :) Overall, this was a fast, easy read for me but one with emotional heart - I found myself tearing up at one point, laughing at another. And the romantic in me was totally grinning over the eventual solution to Kiran's husband search. I'd highly recommend this if you're wanting to read something a little different.

3 comments :

Barbara V said...

Sounds good!

clare said...

This sounds really interesting, I can't really say I know anything about Indian culture.

Anonymous said...

I'm indian...love reading these kind of books :)
Can't wait to get started on your book; I picked it up because I've never read any paranormal romance books written by a fellow indian!