cover image Late Bloomers

Late Bloomers

Deepa Varadarajan. Random House, $18 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-49802-6

Varadarajan debuts with an endearing exploration of an Indian American family’s search for new beginnings. After 36 years, the Ramans call it quits on their arranged marriage. Lata moves into a condo and gets a job as a librarian, the allure of these first-time experiences outweighing the challenges of singlehood. Suresh, on the other hand, turns to internet dating. (For his profile, he shaves four years off his age, calling himself 55.)Meanwhile, their adult children navigate their own complicated lives. Nikesh, the star of the family with his perfect lawyer-wife, Denise, and their eight-month-old son, is hiding a secret about his relationship with Denise. His older sister, Priya, a history professor who’s considered a problem child because she’s unmarried and childless at 35, is hiding an affair with a man her parents would never approve of. Suresh meets an attractive woman too young for him, while Lata agrees to her first-ever date, but the accumulating secrets threaten to shake the family’s foundations. Striking narration from each of the family members and believable character development add to Varadarajan’s bold challenge to traditional South Asian conventions for a stringent life plan. These strong voices leave an indelible mark. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, InkWell Management. (May)