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The Unexpected Son by Shobhan Bantwal
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The Unexpected Son (edition 2010)

by Shobhan Bantwal

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348329,500 (3.73)3
Member:mausergem
Title:The Unexpected Son
Authors:Shobhan Bantwal
Info:Kensington (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:India

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The Unexpected Son by Shobhan Bantwal

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Vinita Shelke-Patil lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter, when she gets a letter informing her that her son back in India is dying of leukemia and needs urgent bone marrow transplant. She rushes to India against her husband's will where the back story of her illicit affair and the birth of her son is revealed.

It reads like an amateurish work of fiction. The dialogue is flat, the charecters are not well developed and her research about India is lacking. It seems that the author is giving a culinary lesson on Indian especially Marathi cuisine throughout the book. The book is probably not ment to be read by any Indian ans so to me it is total garbage. ( )
  mausergem | Dec 14, 2012 |
This is one of my favorite aurthurs. She is amazing!!! I would read any of her books!!! ( )
  lissyavon | Oct 2, 2011 |
The Unexpected Son offers an interesting look into the workings of an Indian-American family. This is an interesting look into the conservative culture of an Indian middle-class family. Vinita is a product of her culture, spends most of the book yielding to everyone else.
This is the first book I have read by Shobhan Bantwal and am now a HUGE fan. Shobhan writes with eloquent detail. Shobhan’s writing had me sitting in the coffee shop when Vintia and Som would secretly meet, in the living room when Vinita had to tell her parents and brother of her pregnancy, in Bombay when Vintia first met Girish, and then later when Vinita lays eyes on her son for the first time.
I enjoyed the ending, not the fairy-tale ending you might expect, but more true to life. The only thing I wish was the author of the mysterious letter was revealed. It left me thinking it could have been a number of people. This book was a definite A for me and have put Shobhan Bantwal on the list of my favorite authors and her other books, The Forbidden Daugher, The Dowry Bride, and the Sari Shop on my TBR list. ( )
  cathy.crane11 | May 1, 2011 |
I first saw this book on S. Krishna's Books and the cover immediately caught my eye. I've been making an effort to read outside of my comfort zone and this sounded like a great book to start off with. It was a wonderful read and gave an interesting glimpse into a culture that was pretty foreign to me. The story premise was immediately intriguing as a mother myself I cannot imagine going through 30 years of your life not knowing that you had a son and then to find out he is dying. It was shocking to see the types of cultural views and taboos that lead up to this situation and it made me wonder how true this is in today's world in India. In this story it was shocking that preserving the family's reputation was seen as much more important than the happiness of Vinita or even the well being of her child. Then we see how because her family pretended she had a form of cancer and was sent away for treatment instead of admitting she was pregnant she was still viewed as not marriageable and only introduced to men who had some sort of problem like being an alcoholic or a divorcee. All of this makes me want to learn more about the Indian culture to see how true to form the details in this story are.

Vinita was an interesting character because at times you heart breaks for her and other times she irritates the heck out of you and you want to shake some sense into her. She comes across as so real to me because she isn't perfect and makes dumb mistakes out of stubborness that a lot of us would make in her shoes. Things don't always work out in the end like in a fairy tale and she has to learn to live with the consequences of her actions.

Her brother, Vishal, is another interesting character because he can come across as a real bastard but really he does what he believes is right for his family even if that means concealing the existence of Vinita's son from her for all these years. You want to dislike him for what he does but you can't because it is obvious how much he loves Vinita and respects his parents.

I did not want to put this one down and my co-workers laughed at me as I frantically tried to finish the last 8 pages before we had to start a training class because I couldn't wait to find out what happened. This is a wonderful book if you are looking for a glimpse into Indian culture. ( )
  dasuzuki | Jan 22, 2011 |
This author has skills! Beautiful writing skills that capture the readers hearts and give them a glimpse into the life of Indian-American culture. It's a novel that's beautifully written and full of everything from love and hope to loyalty and heartache. A combination that leaves the reader with indescribable feelings.

The Unexpected Son is a novel of cultural differences, secrets, and what a mother feels for her child despite thinking they are dead. Vinita is beautifully created with stunning detail, and helps to pull the reader into her life in a small Indian village, suffering from cultural wars. She's torn between her duty to her family, and an undeniable attraction to handsomely seductive Som Kori, an older boy who has a bad reputation. Her decision results in heartache on many levels,both in her past and her present life with her husband of 25 years and their daughter.

These secrets leave her seeking forgiveness and giving forgiveness, but the question in Vinita's heart is this: can forgiveness bridge the gap that years of unanswered questions and heartache left behind?

I was quite pleased with reading this story. It's compelling, riveting plot leaves the reader anxious for more by the last page. This 4 star novel is high on my recommendation list, while I will be seeking more work from Bantwal! Despite the mild use of language (barely any at all), I think many people will be happy with reading this new novel by an obviously talented author. ( )
  ReviewsbyMolly | Sep 28, 2010 |
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"It is a morning like any other in suburban New Jersey when Vinita Patil opens the battered envelope postmarked 'Mumbai.' But the letter inside turns her comfortable world upside down. It tells Vinita an impossible story: she has a grown son in India whose life may depend on her... Once upon a time, a naïve young college girl fell for a wealthy boy whose primary interests were cricket and womanizing. Vinita knew, even then, that a secret affair with a man whose language and values were different from her own was a mistake. He finished with her soon enough--leaving her to birth a baby that was stillborn. Or so Vinita was told... Now, that child is a grown man in desperate need. To help her son, to know him, Vinita must revisit her darkest hours by returning to her battle-scarred homeland--and pray for the faith of the family she leaves behind..."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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