cover image The Windfall

The Windfall

Diksha Basu, read by Soneela Nankani. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 9 CDs, 10.5 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-1-5247-7409-7

When the Jha family, flush with a fortune from the recent sale of Mr. Jha’s website, decide to move from the middle-class neighborhood in East Delhi where they have lived for 30 years to the gated community of Gurgaon, they have to confront family, money, and the excitement of conspicuous consumption. (“Why leave a carbon fingerprint when you can leave a footprint?” Mr. Jha queries at one point.) Nankani handles the many characters with aplomb. For Mrs. Jha, a more traditional Indian woman who clings to old ways like having the car keys blessed at the temple and wearing starched cotton saris, Nankani adopts a lilting and more heavily accented cadence; for Rupak, the Jhas’ rudderless son at school in the United States, she takes on a flat American inflection; and she creates over-the-top voices for the Jhas’ new next-door-neighbors, whom the story presents as caricatures: the status-obsessed but small-minded patriarch, his idle and corpulent wife, and their useless adult son. Overall, Nankani’s sensitive narration enhances the novel’s portrayal of complex contemporary India. A Crown hardcover. (June)