THE RED CARPET: Bangalore Stories

Lavanya Sankaran, Author . Dial $23 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-33817-2

Traditional values and new expectations confront the diverse residents of Bangalore, where rutted, nearly impassable roads and one-room schoolhouses lie a half-hour's drive from glittering department stores selling aromatherapy candles amid the piped-in tunes of Billy Joel and Eminem, in Sankaran's animated debut collection. In "Bombay This," Ramu, a 30-year-old software employee recently dedicated to finding himself a wife, employs his mother as a matchmaker (or "Connubial Pimp," in his casual, irreverent parlance) while keeping his own eyes open, and grows increasingly drawn to a vivacious Bombay woman whose modern ways his mother can't understand. In the title story, an impoverished chauffeur's affection for his boss, the kindly memsahib all the servants call Maydum, clashes with his discomfort over what he believes are her immoral behaviors. A willful young girl and her manipulative nanny engage in an escalating battle of lies and betrayal in "Two Four Six Eight," while a young accountant, already betrayed by her father's suicide, sees her work co-opted by a slick, handsome colleague in "Mysore Coffee." Though the stories often don't end as strongly as they begin—Sankaran builds tension brilliantly but doesn't always offer a climax to balance it—they are memorable for their subtle wit and convincing evocation of a dynamic world. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/25/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-7553-2786-7
Open Ebook - 124 pages - 978-0-307-42336-8
Ebook - 200 pages - 978-0-440-33537-5
Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-385-33820-2
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-4722-0640-4
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