A sparkling, enjoyable look at how globalization affects love.

MARRYING ANITA

A QUEST FOR LOVE IN THE NEW INDIA

Single Indian-American female, 33, seeks worldly yet marriage-minded man abroad and finds a complex blend of perspectives on relationships.

On the surface, Jain’s debut memoir is the newest entry in the Sex and the City/Bridget Jones’s Diary–fueled glut of women’s laments, fictional and otherwise, about unreliable men. Disappointed by her isolating social life in New York, one of several international cities where she worked as a journalist after graduating from Harvard, the author moved to Delhi in 2005, hoping to find a husband either through an arranged marriage or a more Western-style courtship. Though Jain serves up some amusingly familiar dating horror stories, her exploration of cultural change makes her more than a South Asian Carrie Bradshaw. In a charmingly wry voice, she deftly interweaves the stories of friends, relatives and suitors, each tale illuminating another twist of the labyrinthine path to happiness offered by life in a subcontinent saturated by both tradition and technology. The author introduces readers to fellow singles whose marital ambitions are as impeded by Delhi’s new, promiscuous youth culture as by ancient caste prejudices. Her cousins are small-town wives forbidden from so much as removing their jewelry without permission; their lives bewilder Jain, but they seem happy. A friend from India’s northeastern region looks Japanese and identifies with East Asian men; he reminds the author of her own difficult-to-define multinational identity. That puzzle is the real theme of this introspective memoir. Jain’s assured, insouciant intellectualism is as engaging to the reader as it is problematic in her search for a mate. In the arranged-marriage milieu, the ideal man is a studious doctor or engineer, but such types are naïfs in the face of the author’s sophisticated frame of reference. She wants a literate, feminist-minded, well-traveled partner, but there is no established venue to meet him or shorthand to describe him; the paradigm is too new. Rather than simplistically condemning modernity as an enemy of intimacy, however, Jain playfully relishes analyzing it.

A sparkling, enjoyable look at how globalization affects love.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59691-185-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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