IMAGINARY MEN by Anjali Banerjee


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Lina Ray’s future takes an unexpected turn when she applies her matchmaking talents to her own love life.

Debut novelist Banerjee begins by sweeping the reader off to an exotic wedding in Kolkata, India, which also happens to be her birthplace. Lina, a Bengali-American professional matchmaker, was responsible for introducing the happy couple, her younger sister and the “Indian Johnny Depp.” Instead of celebrating the union, concerned relatives commit themselves to finding a groom for Lina (at 29, Lina is something of a spinster in India). Lina’s parents immigrated to America in search of opportunity, but the family still clings to the tradition of arranged marriage. Feeling pressured, Lina tells an enormous lie—she’s already engaged to the perfect man. It’s a fun plot twist, but the author spends too little time developing the characters before introducing it. While her family celebrates the “engagement” and begins to plan the wedding, Lina scrambles to undo her deception by finding a fiancé. As Lina scans client files for potential husbands, a handsome complication walks into her life. Raja, a member of India’s royalty, needs Lina to find a suitable match for his brother. While Raja and Lina team up to arrange this union, unexpected sparks fly. The trouble is Raja is spoken for back in India. Does love stand a chance? Banerjee takes us back to India where Lina and Raja must decide between pleasing their families and finding individual happiness.

The insights into Bengali culture are interesting, but the writing lacks nuance and the action proceeds at an uneven pace.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2005
ISBN: 1-4165-0943-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Downtown Press/Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2005