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The Windfall by Diksha Basu

The Windfall

by Diksha Basu

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After selling his company for millions of dollars, Mr. Jha and his wife decide to leave their cramped apartment in East Dehli and move to the ultra wealthy side of town. Their son Rupak, a graduate student in New York, has been keeping some big secrets from his parents. As the Jha family experiences changes in their lives, they struggle to figure out just what exactly matters the most.

This is one of those books that is just fun to read but also has a bit of heart to it. While the book mainly follows the Jha family it also shows the perspective of friends, neighbors and employees. The different social classes all have a presence in the book.

If you liked the book Crazy Rich Asians, I say give this book a shot. They both have the flaunting of wealth, the gossipy friends and neighbors, and humorous situations balanced with a deeper look into culture and traditions.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and that is my honest review. ( )
  fastforward | Jun 22, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Windfall is an engaging and entertaining book populated by a cast of characters who are human and fallible, but never unlikable. Its social commentary reminds me of Austen, only set in modern day India and the US Indian expat community and featuring all their tensions, anxieties, and contradictions. It's also Shakespearean in the way the characters' desires and motivations are usually at cross-purposes to one another, and everyone misunderstands everyone else's intentions, often to amusing consequences. That said, Basu ultimately opts to keep things realistic so there's no neat resolution to all these plotlines such as one would find at the end of an actual Shakespearean comedy. (And I'm not sure such a conclusion would have served the book better.) Final verdict: The Windfall is well-written and fun to read, and worth picking up if it's piqued your interest. ( )
  Trismegistus | Jun 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Windfall sounded like my cup of tea, and it more than met my expectations. I loved all the characters, despite their foibles. Although the book is based mostly in India, the cast of characters seemed universal to me; I could relate to, or felt like I knew, people like them. The author really brought them to life. I found the book very humorous; I particularly liked the unexpected preferences the father had for his son's future.
This book was a pleasure to read. It had great humor, an interesting take on family relationships, social climbing, friendships, international students and more. I highly recommend this entertaining book. ( )
  Loried | Jun 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Windfall by Diksha Basu is enjoyable, light and funny satire about a family living in a crowded and noisy apartment moving on up to a more expensive apartment in a wealthier area. What intrigued me about this fictional family is that I had a similar experience when I moved with my family when I was twelve.

There were big differences, the Jia had a big increase in wealth due to a sale of website that Mr. Jha had worked on many years. My family had no increase of income. But their family and mine were plunged into a different world, a world where material differences meant a lot. In the more expensive neighborhood, Mr. Jha quickly decided that he needed to have a gaurd, whether we needed one or not. In my family, we were surprised to see that our neighbors had maids. We couldn't understand why, just that we saw that they had maids. Mr. Jha is feeling the need to match or better status giving material ideas. Mrs. Jha is mainly concerned because she will have to start all over again with making friends. Their son, Rupak is supposed to be studying in New York for his MBA so that he will have a secure future. Rupak is not motivated to get good grades or study, he has no real interest in business but is doing it to please his parents. He also has an American girlfriend but meets an Indian girl in an attempt to please his parents.

The Jhas basically love each other and their son but fall down in communication. Some memorable things from this book are a jeweled sofa that was pretty in their eyes but uncomfortable to lie, shorts on a Michealangelo painting and the changing views on custom for what is suitable for women.

I received an Advanced Review Copy as a win from LibraryThing from the publishers in exchange for a fair book review. My thoughts and feelings in this review are my own. ( )
  Carolee888 | Jun 7, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is a good, but not great book. I had trouble getting into it, but the second half did pick up the pace a bit. There are other Indian and Bangladeshi writers who cover much of the same territory and do it better. Caution: there are spoilers below.

One problem is that this book has been advertised as a comedy. It really isn't. In an odd way it is reminiscent of Jane Austen as social commentary, but "Pride and Prejudice" is both more insightful and funnier. However, the bigger problem is that in many ways the book is more of a screenplay than a novel. The main characters--a man who has developed and sold a website thereby becoming rich overnight, his wife and their son who is in his early twenties--are stereotypes and are never fully developed as characters. Their emotional responses aren't credible because their characters aren't developed. For example, the son falls in love with a blonde American woman. The author tells us repeatedly that he doesn't really know or understand her that well and is more in love with the idea of the perfect American woman she represents.The reasons the American woman is attracted to him are never explained and the attraction seems unlikely. Despite their relationship, he is attracted to and spends a lot of time with an Indian woman who is also studying in the US. Yet, ultimately he decides that he genuinely loves the American woman. Given how superficial his knowledge of her is this seems unlikely.

The father's reaction to his son's academic difficulties and the acceptance of the idea that his son's floundering is more in keeping with his newly rich status is just plain preposterous. So are his actions culminating in some sort of meltdown.

The secondary characters are better developed and more believable than the main ones. Yet, one thing a secondary character does which is central to the plot is also wholly out of keeping with the way the character has been portrayed to that point.

So, all in all...an interesting look into Indian middle class lives, but disappointing on a lot of levels. ( )
  Jonri | Jun 5, 2017 |
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To my parents and their parents
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Mr. Jha had worked hard, and now he was ready to live well.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451498917, Hardcover)

A heartfelt comedy of manners for readers of Seating Arrangements and Crazy Rich Asians, Diksha Basu’s debut novel unfolds the story of a family discovering what it means to be nouveau riche in modern India. Hilarious and wise, The Windfall illuminates with warmth and charm the precariousness of social status, the fragility of pride, and, above all, the human drive to build and share a home. Even the rich, it turns out, need to belong somewhere.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Feb 2017 19:47:08 -0500)

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