Long awaited, anticipated, likely to be debated: Dimple Lala is back.
Hidier quietly revolutionized YA literature with Born Confused (2002), and this sequel indicates she’s intent on a repeat. Dimple, now in college and still with beat-dropping Karsh, heads to Bombay ostensibly for a wedding but really for so much more; still, perhaps, born confused, she is in search of home. Dense, lyrical, full of neologic portmanteaus and wordplay (“magnifishence”; “candlecadabra”): This is a prose-poem meditation on love, family and homecoming (or not) posing as a novel. Under the poetry lurks a simple story: a failing relationship and a dreamy but steamy affair; the pain of returning to a place where a loved one no longer lives. Dimple’s narration transforms mundane details into something more meaningful if less comprehensible—laced with the languages and cadences of India and set in the maze of Bombay (never Mumbai), there is a lot to decode and no glossary or map to help (a lack perfectly in keeping with the novel but frustrating nevertheless). Many readers may not persevere; those that do may stall out with the multiple false endings as Dimple stutter-stops her way to an ending—but, tragically, they’ll be missing out.
Sankalp, a wish: that readers let the poetry and music transport them; it’s a journey worth making. (Fiction. 15 & up)