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The Abundance: A Novel by Amit Majmudar

The Abundance: A Novel (2013)

by Amit Majmudar

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10324175,967 (4.06)13



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Our narrator had a terminal illness, and this story tells how she rebuilds the relationships with her children despite tensions. Both children, Ronak and Mala are married with their own children and have moved from home, which is in Ohio. They return more regularly in hearing of their mother's illness, and Mala learns to cook her mother's Indian recipes. The book jumps about a bit, and we hear about families back in India as well as the childhood of Ronak and Mala.
I felt this book could have offered so much more. I would have rather had more of the childhood stories and the book could have had more detail. I thought details of the grand children were interesting and was the contrast between Mala's Indian husband and Ronak's American wife.
Left me wanting more. ( )
  AHouseOfBooks | Jan 27, 2016 |
The Abundance is told from the point of view of an Indian immigrant to the United States who is dying from cancer. Throughout the book, she tells of her present reality and also reflects on her life and her relationships with her children. As a way of bonding, she teaches her daughter, who has never been interested in cooking, how to cook traditional Indian dishes.

The book moved me to tears several times. The reflections on love and family, both the good and the bad, were very powerful. ( )
  klburnside | Nov 4, 2015 |
This was a beautiful novel about an Indian immigrant couple and their two adult children. There are inevitable clashes between the highly successful immigrant parents and their equally successful first generation children, but things begin to change when the mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer with only a very short time to live. The somewhat estranged daughter decides she wants to learn how to cook all the Indian foods her mother prepared in abundance for the family. Her frantic efforts to learn everything before her mother dies turns into a project that leads to both reconciliation and discord. Told from the point of view of the dying mother, the novel includes many stories about life in India and the community of immigrant Indian professionals in the American Midwest. I really liked this novel and would recommend it. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
This was a re-read for my book club. I am so glad I read it again because I liked it even more. On the first read, I gave it 4 stars, but this time it is a definite 5 star book. The language is so beautiful and I love the story. It can be sad at times, but it also full of life. There are so many themes that permeate the book: mother-daughter relationships, ethnic assimilation, 2nd generation Indian immigrants, dying, loss, parental expectations, family, food. I could go on and on. It is one of those books that I want to read slowly and savor! Highly recommended. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
The Abundance by Amit Majmudar is a beautifully written book about a mother dying and the effect of the experience on her husband and her children. The author has demonstrated such a tremendous sensitivity that makes you forget that the mother’s character is written by a man.

The mother really wants a celebration of life instead of discussing her coming death. She loves it so much, she loves music, art, books and cooking, especially cooking. She wants to keep on loving life as long as she is alive. The kitchen is her empire. She could have completed her education and become a doctor but cooking was so natural to her and a big way of showing her love to her family. A good bit of the book expresses that and now I regret that I did not have time in the past to go with an Indian friend to the grocery and learn how to cook some Indian foods. That sadness was hanging around me as I read this book. I want to make the mother’s stuffed eggplants!

Mala, her daughter who has always tried so hard for her mother’s love by being perfect, she felt in competition with her mother’s love with her brother Ronak. She works hard and becomes a doctor. The two are prone to quarrels with each other but that may be that they are alike. Ronak, the son does not follow the rules and has a finance career which is completely different from what his parents wanted but they still love him. The spouses are a part of this book too and I see myself akin to Amber, Ronak’s wife!

The portrayal of Abhi was surprising rich with layers. He loves numbers as much as my husband! In fact, I could see my husband showing his love in the same gentle ways as Abhi. Mala told her mother that she was lucky that not many arranged marriages turn out to be so loving. Love marriage or arranged marriage, her mother was indeed fortunate to be married to a man who cared deeply for her.

I highly recommend this book to all who interested in good marriages and Asian Indian families ( )
  Carolee888 | Dec 14, 2014 |
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They arrive after midnight on the twenty-third.  Mala had called from Indianapolis at around 10 PM and said they were having dinner at Denny's.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805096582, Hardcover)

A luminous, bittersweet novel of India and the American midwest, immigrants and their first-generation children, and the power of cooking to bridge the gulfs between them
When Mala and Ronak learn that their mother has only a few months to live, they are reluctantly pulled back into the midwestern world of their Indian immigrant parents--a diaspora of prosperous doctors and engineers who have successfully managed to keep faith with the old world while claiming the prizes of the new. More successfully than their children--equally ill at ease with Holi and Christmas, bhaji and barbecue, they are mysteries to their parents and themselves.
In the short time between diagnosis and deterioration, Mala sets about learning everything she can about her mother's art of Indian cooking. Perfecting the naan and the raita, the two confront their deepest divisions and failures and learn to speak as well as cook. But when Ronak hits upon the idea of selling their experience as a book and a TV documentary, India and America, immigrant and native-born are torn as never before.
With grace, acuity, and wry compassion, Amit Majmudar has written anew the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:59 -0400)

"Mala and Ronak are surprisingly less comfortable with their dual Indian and American roots than their parents, part of an immigrant community that has happily embraced the New World. Told that their mother is about to die, they return home to the Midwest, where Mala persuades Ronak that they should immerse themselves in Indian culture by learning to cook their mother's favorite recipes. Then Ronak hits upon the idea of capturing their experience in book and film, and all hell breaks loose."--Library Journal.… (more)

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