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Romance and Heartache in Desiland

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September 2008
Romance and Heartache in Desiland

In the snarky, catty world of confessional blogging, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan’s racy blog attracted enough attention to win her a book contract from an Indian publisher. Appropriately called “The Compulsive Confessor,” her blog has been described by more than one commentator as a cross between Bridget Jones’s Diary and Sex and the City. Indian-style, of course. A twenty-something journalist based in India, Madhavan calls her tell-all tale a novel rather than a memoir. Anita Jain, however, didn’t feel the need to fictionalize her adventures in the mating game. Disappointed by the slim pickings in America, and egged on by her anxious immigrant parents, she takes off to their native land on a romantic quest.

“Lest you think Jain’s narrative reads like an amorous laundry list, romance comes with some poignant revelations,” notes The Christian Science Monitor. “Jain journeys to India in search of a husband, yes, but also a ‘sense of belonging that I haven’t found in the U.S.’ Her reverse immigration ironically proves otherwise as she admits: ‘I look Indian but am not.’”

Talking of love and longing, two recent fiction debuts that plumb the relationship issues of Indian immigrants are Anne Cherian’s A Good Indian Wife and Saher Alam’s The Groom to Have Been. The latter novel takes us into the emotionally turbulent world of a young Indian Muslim whose life has been upended by the tragic events of 9/11. “Delicately crafted and multilayered, this moving book shows Alam to be a writer of great promise,” according to Publishers Weekly.


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