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The Abundance: A Novel by Amit Majmudar
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The Abundance: A Novel

by Amit Majmudar

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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 |
A beautifully written story of an Indian woman, living in America, facing a cancer diagnosis and how she chooses to live the last months of her life. The male author succeeds in getting inside the mind of the female main character, as she navigates her relationships with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law. Food plays a central role in the way she nurtures her family. There are many touching moments and realistic tensions. The ending is almost too poetic; I wished for more resolution and clarity. ( )
  Suzanne81 | May 19, 2014 |
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 |
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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)

Pulled back into the Midwestern world of their Indian immigrant parents when their mother is taken ill, Mala sets about learning everthing she can about her mother's art of Indian cooking, while her brother Ronak tries to sell their experience as a book and a TV documentary, furthering the cultural divide.… (more)

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