Sunday 31 October 2010

Domestic Fiction

Finished October 30
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
This novel is written by a Canadian who now lives in the United States. It is set partly in California and partly in India. The novel is told from alternating points of view.
In India, Kavita gives birth to a daughter, for the second time. She is determined that this time her husband will not take the baby away, however he convinces her that they cannot afford to keep it. They need a son. She goes with her sister to the city, Bombay, and leaves the baby girl at an orphanage. At first she harbours resentment for her husband, but eventually she is able to move on with her life, but never forgetting the baby girl, Usha, that she left at the orphanage.
In California, Somer met a young med student from India, and the two fell in love and got married. Now that she is finished her residency, she hopes to have a baby, but the odds are against her. After much inner turmoil, she agrees with her husband, Krishnan, to adopt a baby from India, from the orphanage where his mother is a patron. The name they call her is Asha.
The point of view moves back and forth, mostly from the points of view of Somer and Kavita, but eventually from Asha's point of view as well. We also have smaller segments from the other characters.
This book is about culture, about adjusting to other cultures, about being open to those cultures, and about what motherhood really means. It is an interesting story, and I found the characters engaging.

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