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The Golden Son: A Novel by Shilpi Somaya…
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The Golden Son: A Novel (2015)

by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

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2413271,951 (4.05)22
  1. 00
    Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (vancouverdeb)
    vancouverdeb: Both books are by the same author.Though they are different stories, each one features characters from India trying to adapt to life in North America. Obviously ,similar story telling.
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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I would actually rate this book a 4.5! There are so many positive things to say about Ms. Gowda's writing. The story was very compelling and I was mentally and emotionally invested from the beginning. This was largely due to the quality of her character development. I cared so much about even the minor players in the book because of how real they seemed. The portrayal of rural Indian culture and the complexities of family expectations was very educational and thorough and it's surprising that the author herself was not raised in India. The marriage dowry practice and virtual enslavement of women was devastating to read. She was equally adept at navigating the challenges of immigrating to America and balancing two cultures. I happen to live in an area with a large population of Indian immigrants and I found this book to be very enlightening about the trials they face. A wonderful read! ( )
  ellenmartin | May 27, 2019 |
Timely fairy tale for me to read, everything gets neatly tied up, family comes around, all good ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
Book was interesting enough, I liked that the main characters struggled with their life choices. The end surprised me, which is always a good thing. I’m not sure why I didn’t give this 5 stars, I guess the Author was not able to create tension in the writing and that stopped it from being a page turner. ( )
1 vote janismack | Feb 22, 2018 |
Unfortunately I'll probably be skipping more works by this author in the future. I heard about this book and ended up reading her debut ('The Secret Daughter') first. Initially I was hesitant to read this but it finally became available at the library and I wanted to see if I liked her work better. I think the author has some great ideas and at the heart there's a really great story here. Unfortunately it all fell a bit flat.
 
Anil is the "golden son" who goes off to Texas to become a doctor. Unfortunately, cultural and language barriers make life difficult for him, aside from actually putting into practice what he had learned. He finds that life in the US is VERY different and he is met with expectations, standards, people, ideas that he's never been exposed to before. Some of them challenge him, some change him, both for the good and the bad.
 
Meanwhile, his childhood sweetheart Leena is married off. At first she thinks it will take some time to adjust, but soon it is clear: she's at the bottom of the rung and is no better than a servant. Forced to cook and clean, Leena is abused by her in-laws (and raped by her husband) and is stuck in a horrible situation.
 
As I said, there was a lot to work with here. I enjoyed Anil's move to the US, trying to adjust to work, learning the cultural and society differences, balancing between two worlds, etc. It was also harrowing to read Leena's marriage and situation which is not uncommon, unfortunately. But there was something not clicking with me. I found it was easy to skim and that there was probably a lot that could have been edited to be shorter or to be out completely. I feel like the author is a bit too in love with her own writing: some of it was quite compelling and/or beautiful or great to read. But sometimes it was too much detail, too much down to the nitty gritty of it and the emotional punch gets lost in too many words.
 
I did really appreciate that the author kept the viewpoints to only two characters. I hated that the author used multiple POVs in her previous book because it was too many and she couldn't make it work. Usually I don't like alternating characters but keeping it to two here did work just fine.
 
I suppose if you liked her previous book you would enjoy this. As it is, I'm glad I got this from the library and I don't think I'll be reading any more by her. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda is a novel about family and tradition taking place in both India and the United States. The author is Canadian of Indian origin, she previously wrote The Secret Daughter, an international best seller.

Anil is the eldest son of a prominent family in India who owns land and pays laborers to work them. Anil realized he has an affinity for medicine and has gone in that direction instead of following in his father’s footsteps (with his family’s blessings). While working in a Texas hospital Anil gets a taste of what the world is like beyond his small village.

Leena, a childhood friend of Anil’s, is the daughter of a family who owns a small parcel of land and make a comfortable living out of it. Leena is an only child and her marriage dowry devastates her family.

The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda is a well written and engaging story. I enjoy reading books like this, with an interesting protagonist about cultures which are different, yet have very similar themes to other cultures.

Unlike many other similar books I’ve read, the author does not try to force tears out of the reader (something I dislike), but instead tells a good story with all the tragedy and happiness which happens in life. The author finds challenges and opportunities in both cultures which the protagonist, Anil, live in while very different, have several commonalities.

The whole class structure in India fascinates me, how important it is and how people adhere to this structure, especially these days. Frankly, I don’t understand it but it seems that the whole system is based on that structure and what one can get away with when it come to the law and society.

The characters are well written and defined, the various perspective in which the author writes are interesting, as well as informative. I enjoyed reading this book very much and am looking forward to read more from Ms. Gowda.

For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com ( )
1 vote ZoharLaor | Nov 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
In her second novel, Shilpi Somaya Gowda again deploys rich plotting and finely embroidered storytelling to reveal fascinating and sometimes disturbing elements of Indian culture...Gowda keeps her readers tethered to compelling, universal human themes — heartbreak and avarice among them.

“The Golden Son” wrestles with dilemmas faced by many immigrants who come here to fulfill their dreams. The protagonist, Anil, is a conflicted young Indian — the titular “golden son” — attempting to adjust to America. And the perils of being a woman in India are also explored in the novel, which interweaves the tale of Anil’s childhood friend Leena, who lives a traditional rural life back home. (The author was born in Canada to Indian immigrant parents.)
 
Like The Secret Daughter,The Golden Son is also a page-turner. Gowda is a gifted storyteller, bringing together various related story strands into a fully integrated whole.... Gowda gives readers a glimpse of what life might be like for someone arriving in America for the first time after growing up in a small Indian village....
The portrait Gowda draws of the people of India is also interesting, with the many layers of society and traditions ruling the everyday life of almost everyone.In The Golden Son, Gowda has created another well-crafted and interesting story

 
Her specialty is a formula based on parallel stories made up of a not-so-subtle mix of tragedy and hope, and then more tragedy and more hope with a few more obstacles and mishaps thrown in before a happy ending...Gowda can write up moments that break your heart whether it is when Leena’s mother first sees her daughter on her return or when Anil learns from a woman dying from cancer that medicine is not just about technology....The Golden Son combines the immigrant novel with a fascination for the insecure and dependent lives of rural women in India. The book does not finish with the most predictable ending, but a version of happily ever after does take place. And yes, it evoked a few tears, too.
 
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Epigraph
When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he has forgotton, not of the light he was unable to see.
Baltasar Gracian
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For Anand - My best decision, then and always.
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Anil Patel was ten years old the first time he witnessed one of Papa's arbitrations.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062391453, Hardcover)

The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter returns with an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honor, tradition, and identity, in which two childhood friends—a young doctor and a newly married bride—must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts.

The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America. When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.

Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever.

Tender and bittersweet, The Golden Son illuminates the ambivalence of people caught between past and present, tradition and modernity, duty and choice; the push and pull of living in two cultures, and the painful decisions we must make to find our true selves.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:45:02 -0400)

From the beloved author of "Secret Daughter" comes a moving new novel of a young man at the crossroads of life. Anil is the first person in his family to leave India, the first to attend college, the first to become a doctor. Half a world away in Dallas, Texas, he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture: he tastes alcohol for the first time, falls in love, and learns firsthand about his adopted country's alluring, dangerous contradictions.… (more)

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