cover image The Bride Wore Red: Tales of a Cross-Cultural Family

The Bride Wore Red: Tales of a Cross-Cultural Family

Robbie Clipper Sethi. Bridge Works Publishing Company, $19.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-1-882593-14-9

In this debut collection of bittersweet, interconnected stories, primarily detailing three Anglo-Indian marriages, Sethi shows off her versatility. Bridging East and West, she spans time as well. The trajectory of Sally's experiences begins with the title story, in which she travels to Delhi for her wedding in 1975, and ends, 20 years later, in New Jersey, with ""The White Widow,"" in which Sally says good-bye to her Indian in-laws after the death of her husband. Standouts include ""Doctor Doktor,"" in which the widow Mataji's American daughter-in-law takes her to see a California shrink, who, it turns out, is from Bombay and has his own share of problems that derive from ""being caught between two worlds."" In ""The White-Haired Girl,"" the funniest and most successful story, Mataji, attempting to avert a union between her son and the thoroughly modern Goodie, decides to engage in some creative matchmaking. Finally, in ""Missing Persons,"" her virtuoso performance, Sethi wildly leans back and forth between India and America, maintaining a high-wire act rife with authorial intrusions that are at once self-conscious and daringly intriguing. If at times Sethi tries to do too much, exposing the inherent frustrations in imposing one's own cultural sensibilities on others, it's a far less punishable offense than being satisfied with skating by on too little. (June)