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My big fat Bombay wedding.

Anju’s parents expect her to have a traditional arranged marriage, like her just-wed younger sister, but Anju has other ideas. Besides, she’s already (at 28) past the most desirable age, and the astrologer her nervous mother consults sees no bridegroom soon. Kindly relatives counsel patience. An Internet search of eligible Indian bachelors turns up a few prospects, but none interesting to Anju, so she persuades her doting parents to let her try her luck in America, under the watchful eyes of an amiable uncle in New Jersey and his scolding wife. Watching TV and landing a job in New York fashion merchandising immerse her in Western culture, but in matters of the heart, she’s deeply conservative. Dating an all-American guy is a tricky business, she finds, especially when he refuses to sneak away from the nosy relatives she spots at the restaurant, who are sure to tell all to her faraway family. What to do? Traditional Indian men will regard her as too independent and experienced (though she remains a virgin), but she can’t revert to the innocent girl she was in Bombay. A trip home for her cousin’s wedding only confirms this fear—and her mother’s unsubtle efforts to introduce her to as many men as possible drive her nutty. She talks her parents into letting her return to New York, explaining that many Indian stockbrokers and accountants live there, too. But her ceaseless efforts to find a suitable mate often border on the absurd, as in this communication from a cyberchap: I am blameless innocent divorced man. I before have married to crazy-demented white woman, only for purposes of green card. Am seeking wife number two. I am honest, good person. Please be good and e-mail me by return.

Appealing story, with a fine ear for dialogue and a tender wit: an auspicious debut for Los Angeles–based fashion correspondent Daswani.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-15070-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2003