cover image The Windfall

The Windfall

Diksha Basu.. Crown, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-451-49891-5

Culture and capital clash in Basu's charming, funny debut, which finds middle-aged Anil and Bindu Jha flush with new money after Anil sells his phone directory website for a small fortune. The couple moves from their modest, cramped, noisy home in an East Delhi apartment complex to the gated community of Gurgaon, where keeping up appearances means hiring security guards and making extravagant purchases. As they try to adjust to their new lifestyle, their son, Rupak, struggles with his M.B.A. program and his own needs from halfway around the world in upstate New York, oscillating between white Florida native Elizabeth and Serena, also from Delhi, with whom he feels pressured by tradition to pursue companionship. Add to the mix Reema, Mrs. Jha's old friend from East Delhi who finds herself wooed by the brother of the Jhas' new neighbor, and Basu sets the table for a modern and heartfelt comedy of haves and have-nots. Shuttling between characters, the novel addresses a rapidly changing India from a plethora of perspectives, and the result leaves readers laughing and engrossed. (June)