The book: The Hindi-Bindi Club, by Monica Pradhan
The edition: Italian translation by Marina Nocilli, as published by Newton Compton, paperback, 426 pages (with recipes!)
The story: of Indian women immigrated to the US, of their daughters, and of the clash between the two generations (or: see the official synopsis)
My experience with the book & my thoughts: this is one more case of misplaced expectations. I expected a novel about the immigration experience and how it is seen differently from 1st and 2nd generation immigrants. I expected something like a women version of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. Instead, it’s little more than a chick-lit with some Indian spices. I’m not saying that it is bad, actually I enjoyed it for what it is, but I was expecting more. That said (and not being a regular reader of chick-lit, which is “beach books” to me), it’s a nice story, touching (although very lightly) on a number of issues — not only self-evident ones like the clash of cultures, and family, but also things like growing old, malady, the difference between what we are and the way people see us. I even grew attached to some of the characters… All in all it was a fun ride!
What I liked: recipes! And a narrative with many different points of view. Also, I loved the dedication!
What I didn’t like: characters that change abruptly for no reason whatsoever and a “happy ending” that readers can guess as soon as they meet a certain character for the first time.
Language & translation: as I wrote above, I was expecting one kind of book. Luckily I realized quite soon that I was in for a chick-lit, and that was thanks to some turns of phrase. Such as this:
To the west, the cherry lollipop of the setting sun glows between the pine trees.
I’ll admit that I couldn’t restrain myself from calling my husband in order to laugh together at this sentence. *shame*. But it helped put the whole book in perspective, so that I enjoyed it for what it was.
Also, what is it with Italian publishers and nonsensical titles?
Random thought: I wish I could start learning a new language.
Read this if: if you liked Monsoon Wedding, it has the same feeling.