FOR MATRIMONIAL PURPOSES

Kavita Daswani, Author . Putnam $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-15070-8

Matchmaking Indian-style collides with love "Umrican"-style in Daswani's giddy debut featuring a privileged but rebellious young woman who moves to New York after her family fails to secure a marriage for her by the time she turns an elderly 26. While pursuing a graduate degree and career, Anju embraces the idea of "falling in love," a phrase that doesn't exist in the Indian language—("we say pyar hogaya—love has happened")—but the Prada-loving fashion publicist still finds herself "oddly drawn to the age-old system of arranged marriage" and stubbornly believes "observing the tradition" will elevate her "to the highest ranking on the scale of social conduct." She's also eager to please a mother who won't address her husband by his first name and tells her daughter, "I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be married," after Anju announces her desire for true love. Torn between the freedom of her American life and the responsibility of being a dutiful daughter, Anju travels to Bombay, "the matrimonial melting-pot," where she endures a ceaseless and often hilarious parade of potential suitors, flamboyant family weddings, consultations with assorted astrologers, professional matchmakers and family priests, all in the hopes of achieving marital nirvana. Daswani's effervescent handling of a classic plot is perfect for the hectic summer wedding season. The only flaw in this heady, cardamom-flavored confection is the rushed happy ending, which leaves readers hankering for more details. 10-city author tour; foreign rights sold in France, Greece, Holland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Spain, U.K. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
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FORMATS
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59086-942-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-59086-945-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59086-943-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-59335-196-0
Hardcover - 978-1-84395-557-3
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