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Madras on Rainy Days
Synopses & Reviews
Layla is torn among clashing identities--dutiful Muslim daughter and free, independent American woman. When she is nineteen, her parents inform Layla that a marriage has been arranged for her to an Indian man she doesn't know. A stunned Layla submits reluctantly but not before she commits a dangerous, final act of defiance. In the heat and noise of Hyderabad, as her wedding looms, her behavior becomes more and more erratic. Her mother, fearing demonic possession, takes Layla to a Muslim faith-healer, an alim, hoping to exorcise all traces of rebellion. To Layla's surprise, the ancient and elaborate wedding rituals, her groom's physical beauty, and the unexpectedly warm welcome of her new family fill her with a sense of belonging she has never known before. But her honeymoon in Madras soon reveals the full horror of the devil's bargain she has struck.
Set against the backdrop of the ancient walled city of Hyderabad and mounting Hindu-Muslim tensions, Madras on Rainy Days lyrically evokes the complexities of life behind the chador. A gorgeously written novel by an original new voice in international fiction.
"In language that is at once lyrical and unsentimental, she explores both the upside and the downside of being a first generation Muslim Indo-American woman, trapped between the demands of competing cultural heritages." Bharati Mukherjee, author of Desirable Daughters: A Novel
"...a compelling story, filled with psychological insight and a deep understanding of the conflicts that plague all of us who inhabit two worlds at the same time." Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of Mistress of Spices and The Vine of Desire
"...a wonderful, wrenching family story....In the end, she is left with the messy beauty of a real life, one that can't be categorized or controlled, only embraced." Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do with My Life?
"...beautifully written and fully realized...Madras on Rainy Days covers the full spectrum of human conflicts and joys: betrayal, cruelty, despair, and yes — the possibility of redemption and hope." ZZ Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
A novel by an original new voice in international fiction which portrays a young Muslim woman's journey from possession to self-possession.
About the Author
Samina Ali was born in Hyderabad, India, and raised both in India and the US. She received her MFA from the University of Oregon. Madras On Rainy Days is her debut novel.
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