Three Bargains

Tania Malik, Author
Tania Malik. Norton, $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-393-06340-0
Reviewed on: 06/23/2014
Release date: 08/01/2014
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-393-24422-9
Hardcover - 511 pages - 978-1-4104-7444-5
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Madan is 12 when Avtaar Singh, his protector, mentor, and replacement father, first offers this advice: “You must always have a purpose. Your opponent can be anyone, but to win, it’s not who or what you’re fighting against, as much as what you’re fighting for.” Guiding and grounding Madan for years to come, this message is made even more poignant when Avtaar Singh becomes his nemesis. Over the course of this stunning debut novel, which begins in 1983 in Northern India, Madan grows up, enduring his father’s absence, his mother’s indifference, and the sale of his younger sister, who is brutalized but eventually returned to their small town on the Yamuna River, thanks to Avtaar Singh’s intercession. But when Madan follows his heart and betrays Avtaar Singh’s trust, he barely escapes with his life, and makes a split-second decision he will come to regret. As the country around him swells with new money and possibility, Madan reinvents himself, arraying himself the wealth and shine of 21st-century global capitalism. But Madan’s attempts to ignore his past cannot last. Malik’s novel boasts masterful storytelling, with mesmerizing prose, heart-stopping action, and startling turns of events that feel both honest and astounding. (Aug.)
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