cover image Mirror Made of Rain

Mirror Made of Rain

Naheed Phiroze Patel. Unnamed, $18 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-951213-60-2

Patel’s gut-wrenching debut offers a looking glass into the luxurious homes of Indian high society in Kamalpur, Mumbai, and New Delhi. Noomi Wadia is under scrutiny, in provincial Kamalpur, as her peers and extended family look for any sign that Noomi will end up like her disgraced alcoholic mother. She is also targeted and sexually assaulted by more than one golden boy, who (like their families), blame her: “You’re a whore, like your mother,” one spits. Ambitious and exhausted, Noomi flees to Mumbai, where she becomes a successful journalist and meets the love of her life, Veer, a workaholic from a rich and traditional New Delhi family that expects stricter adherence to ritual and gender norms than Noomi can abide. As preparations for their wedding ramp up, Noomi seeks solace in alcohol, and this choice portends a future more like her mother’s than she planned. Determined to get her life back on track, she seeks treatment. Patel succeeds in depicting the ways the upper class can be a gilded cage for women: while men enjoy the freedom of public life and conspicuous consumption, the women are merely another thing to be judged, used, and discarded: “Women are Bombay real estate,” says Noomi’s cousin. It’s a chilling story. Agent: Julia Kardon, HG Literary. (May)