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The Golden Son: A Novel by Shilpi Somaya…

The Golden Son: A Novel (original 2015; edition 2016)

by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Author)

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Title:The Golden Son: A Novel
Authors:Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2016), Edition: Reprint, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:read 2017, book club, India, Texas, family dynamics, audiobook 2017, new author 2017

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

  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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Anil's story - born in India, medical school in Texas, torn between his two cultures. ( )
  EvaW | Mar 30, 2017 |
A very satisfying novel by the author of "The Secret Daughter," which was also an excellent read. This book was especially illuminating in portraying the experiences of an educated Indian immigrant to the U.S. I found some of the later parts of this novel to be a little too reminiscent of a soap opera, and characters believed in ways (e.g., ultimately accepting responsibility for their own wrongdoings) that I found hard to believe. All in all, however, a well-written novel, and one that I found hard to put down. ( )
  Annesq | Feb 13, 2017 |
Gowda has a way with family drama, as evidenced by her first book, Secret Daughter. Golden Son is the story of Anil, the oldest son of a wealthy Indian landowner. Anil's father encourages his "golden" boy to pursue a medical degree including a scholarship to advanced study in the US.
Anil finds the US less a dream than a mixture of drudgery and nightmare. Although he finds love, he also finds racism and he struggles to compete in the cut throat environment of the major research hospital.
When Anil's father dies, he is given the added burden of taking in his father's role of local arbitrator, settling village disagreements via long distance phone. His relationships with his brothers at home is strained. His childhood friend, Leena, meanwhile struggles in a violent marriage.
The pressures of staying connected at home and yet competing abroad threaten Anil's future and his family life.
Well-plotted, beautifully written without being overwrought, this is a great read. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Our lives are chock full of hopes and expectations. We face the expectations of our parents for us, those of our culture, and even our own expectations for ourselves. It can be hard work to live up to any or all of these sometimes contradictory expectations. Some people are crushed under the weight, some stop trying to achieve them at all, others struggle unhappily even as they reach those goals, while still others temper or alter expectations in order to create a happy and balanced life. This latter achievement can be quite difficult but it is the one that makes the most sense in the long run. In Shilpi Somaya Gowda's newest novel, The Golden Son, characters are trying very hard to stay true to what they know is expected of them, both from their family's perspectives and from a cultural perspective, but must, in the end, learn to adjust as situations and lives change.

As the oldest son, Anil Patel should, by rights, inherit the family farm and his father's position as the local arbiter of disputes. But his father sees a different path for him, pushing him to attend college and become a doctor. And Anil has no trouble living up to this expectation. When he applies for a residency at a prestigious hospital in America and is offered a place, he knows that he is leaving the life of a rural farmer behind forever but he can't escape his role as heir to his father's reasoned and fair practice of arbitration. His struggles with adjusting to a very foreign life in Dallas, the pace and stress of his residency, and his own feelings of alienation from India and from America both, all combine to make for a tough adjustment for Anil. When his father dies and Anil has to take on the position of judge and jury that he feels so unsuited to perform, he stumbles under the weight of these inescapable expectations.

Leena, Anil's old friend from home, the girl he grew up with and who he eventually had to give up spending time with because their friendship was considered unseemly, tries to fulfill her parents' and her culture's expectations for her. She agrees to an arranged marriage and goes into this relationship wanting very much to be a good wife, good sister-in-law, and good daughter-in-law. She does her best despite her new family's appalling treatment of her, wanting to not shame her parents or become a pariah in the community.

Both Anil and Leena are shamed by their failures to live up to the standards they and outside forces have placed on them and it is only through deep soul searching, in Anil's case, and an almost tragedy in Leena's, for both of them to look at their lives and see the expectations placed on them for what they are.

This is a novel of responsibility and identity. It is a tale of not belonging and of forging your own path toward happiness. It is, above all, a story of the weight of expectations and the problems that those expectations can create. Gowda writes in a simple and straightforward way even when she is presenting issues as complex as racism, spousal abuse, interracial dating, and medical mistakes. The details about Anil's residency and the fog he exists in during this time are well drawn and extensive. The brutal reality of Leena's life is hard to read but certainly an illuminating window into some Indian women's terrible existences, from which they have little to no hope of rescue. The ending is satisfying, if a bit speedy, and Gowda avoids the easy solution for her characters, choosing to stay true to their created personalities. Those who have an interest in India and the ties that continue to bind Indian immigrants to their country of origin will find this an appealing and easy read. ( )
  whitreidtan | Dec 12, 2016 |
It has been quite some time since I can say that i really enjoyed a book and couldn't wait to get back to it when i had to put it down.
Anil is a boy in India who dreams of becoming a doctor. His family and the lives of all those around him are deeply stepped in traditions which guide/rule their lives. Anil travels to America to do his internship and is split between 2 worlds. ( )
  AstridG | Sep 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (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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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
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)

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