Miss New India

Bharati Mukherjee. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (336p) ISBN 978-0-618-64653-1
Twenty-first-century India is a strange juxtaposition of the old and the new, the east and the west, as shown in this draggy novel from National Book Critics Circle Award–winner Mukherjee (The Tree Bride). While most young women still wind up married before they reach their 20s, "hobbled by saris, carrying infants," Anjali Bose, a 19-year-old college student who prefers to be called Angela ("or better yet, Angie"), is lucky to have a patron in her former high school teacher, American Peter Champion, who encourages and enables her to leave smalltown Gauripur for Bangalore, the dot-com and call-center capital of India. Angie's departure, however, is delayed so that she can go through the full extent of the horrors of old-fashioned Indian matchmaking and worse when one of the prospective grooms forces himself on her. In Bangalore, Angie can change herself, but darker events lurk on the horizon. This is a curiously unfulfilling book, as Angie drifts into events and out of them, never quite taking charge of her destiny. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
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