The Distance

Saborna Roychowdhury. Istoria (www.istoriabooks.com) , $12.99 (286p) ISBN 978-0615806112
Roychowdhury's debut is a story about India's growing pains told through the microcosm of a young woman struggling to find love and purpose. Mini is a college student who lives with her grandmother, parents and brother in a two-bedroom apartment in Calcutta. She becomes infatuated with Amitav, a social activist and student leader of the college Communist Party whose arrogant ambition lures Mini to adopt his rowdy lifestyle. She follows him into various unsafe situations until one confrontation turns deadly. Startled and scared she rejects his naiveté and he accuses her of being materialistic. This impasse motivates Mini to submit to an arranged marriage to Neel, an Indian student studying in Canada. Neel's status abroad provides Mini momentary worth and she moves to Canada. Feeling isolated and alone, Mini is repulsed by Vancouver's material abundance and increasingly annoyed by her husband's work ethic. Through Roychowdhury's rich detail and illuminating dialogue emerges a protagonist who is caught in a love triangle and the conflict between rigid traditions and western freedoms. The book also smoothly incorporates the countless facets of modern India, with an abundance of cultural references neatly packed in. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/29/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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