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The Abundance: A Novel by Amit Majmudar

The Abundance: A Novel

by Amit Majmudar

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book was not at all what I expected, but it was still very enjoyable. I'm a foodie, so I thought perhaps there'd be a lot more talk of food and how it brings people together, and I know it was a lot to ask, but (ha) I wanted some recipes!

There's more depth and beauty than I ever expected. A woman at the end of her life reassesses her relationships with her husband and children. She tries to be inobtrusive, but her silence could be seen as criticism to her daughter, especially.

The author is a doctor and he writes this beautifully? Not fair! ( )
  quillmenow | Jul 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A mother is diagnosed with cancer, and her two adult children are forced to confront the possibility of her death. This is a novel that explores the interactions of family--the conflicts, the love, the competition, the food. I enjoyed the mother's voice as the narrator and the lush descriptions of food. ( )
  gwendolyndawson | Jul 19, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Perhaps because it's written by a poet, The Abundance struck an exquisite balance between mundane and artistic. The a narrator, an aging Indian woman who raised her two children in America and has recently been diagnosed with cancer, is unexpected and so honestly human that the book really works. She made the book for me -- her emotions and perspectives felt so true. A quiet story, a personal one, and yet full of depth and beauty in so many unexpected corners. ( )
  erelsi183 | Jul 17, 2013 |
Excellent book. I wish I had the recipes described.
  shazjhb | Jun 11, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed this—Majmudar isn't a flashy writer, but his prose is smooth, his dialogue realistic, and the novel as a whole does an excellent job at exploring familial dynamics. The unnamed narrator is an older Indian-American immigrant, slowly dying of cancer; she has a tense relationship with her overachieving daughter; her son holds himself apart, trying to be 'Ron' instead of 'Ronak'; her husband loves her but has never had to think about stepping outside the gender roles to which he is accustomed. I was especially impressed with how Majmudar—who is male—managed to capture a mother-daughter relationship, with all its guilts and fights about things big and small, so effectively. I also liked how The Abundance avoids both cloying reconciliations or jarring angst; it makes it seem that much more realistic because of it. ( )
1 vote siriaeve | Jun 4, 2013 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:35 -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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