cover image The Golden Son

The Golden Son

Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Morrow, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-239145-2

The large and small struggles that make up everyday life are woven into an international family saga in Gowda’s latest novel. After 10-year-old Anil Patel’s father witnesses the small miracle of a doctor fixing a child’s cleft lip in a nearby village in Western India, he and Anil agree that Anil should become a doctor. That decision later carries Anil far from his family’s farm to a medical internship in Dallas. As Anil settles into American life with all the fixings, including an American girlfriend, his loved ones in India are trapped by their traditions. Worst off is Anil’s childhood friend Leena, caught in an abusive marriage and powerless as a woman in traditional Indian culture. Anil must reckon with these issues when his father dies and he takes on familial duties, while keeping up with his American medical program. Straddling two worlds, Anil finds difficulty fitting into either. Like Gowda’s debut novel, Secret Daughter, which became a bestseller in Canada, this new book, with its depiction of family struggles, offers readers a vivid cultural immersion. Even if the outcome is somewhat predictable, and tied up a bit too neatly, the journey to get there is deeply pleasurable. Agent: Ayesha Pande, Pande Literary. (Jan.)