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The Invitationby Anne Cherian
Synopses & Reviews
When Vikram invites three of his college friends to his son's graduation from MIT, they accept out of obligation and curiosity, viewing the party as a twenty-fifth reunion of sorts. Village genius Vikram, now the founder of a lucrative computer company, is having the party against his son's wishes. Frances and Jay regret accepting: Frances, a real estate agent, hasn't sold a house in a year; Jay's middle management job isn't brag worthy; and their daughter is failing the eleventh grade. Lali plans to hide the fact that her once-happy marriage is crumbling because her American husband is discovering his Jewish roots. Each had left UCLA expecting to be successful and have even more successful children. At Vikram's Newport Beach mansion, the showmanship they anticipate dissolves as each is forced to deal with his or her own problems. The follow-up to A Good Indian Wife, Anne Cherian's novel resonates with the poignancy of real life colliding with expectations unmet.
"Cherian's latest (after A Good Indian Wife) is a character-driven page-turner revolving around four first-generation Indian immigrant friends — most of whom haven't seen one another in the 25 years since college. They converge on a party being thrown by Vikram, a socially inept self-made man, to show off his success under the auspices of celebrating his son's graduation from MIT. Cherian deftly conveys how their status-conscious heritage drives the main characters — Jay grew up wealthy, wed Frances, and expected success; now the couple struggle with lackluster jobs and an underperforming teenage daughter. Lali — ashamed of her son's desire to take time off from Harvard — is drifting dangerously toward infidelity as she rekindles an old flame (who once betrayed her), while her American husband devotes himself to exploring his Jewish heritage. And the prosperous Vikram — in disagreement with the dreams of the son he's feting at their Newport Beach, Calif., mansion — plans to use the pressure of the party to change his son's ways. Cherian's straightforward storytelling is riveting and rarely goes amiss (save for an instance of deus ex machina to resolve a pivotal scene), and the climax is fervent. Agent: Bonnie Nadell, Hill Nadell Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A moving story that redefines the meaning of family, friendship, and success among a group of first-generation Indian immigrants.
About the Author
Anne Cherian was born and raised in Jamshedpur, India. She is the author of A Good Indian Wife. Anne graduated from Bombay and Bangalore Universities and received graduate degrees in journalism and comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and visits India regularly.
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