Synopses & Reviews
A darkly funny debut novel a cross between Monsoon Wedding
and a Kafka short story.
Ramchand, a shop assistant in Sevak Sari House in Amritsar, spends his days patiently showing yards of fabric to the women of "status families" and to the giggling girls who dream of dressing up in silk but can only afford cotton.
When Ramchand is sent to a new part of the city to show wares to a wealthy family preparing for their daughter's wedding, he is jolted out of the rhythm of his narrow daily life. His glimpse into a different world gives him an urgent sense of possibility. He begins to see himself, his life, and his future more clearly. And so he attempts to recapture the hope that his childhood had promised, arming himself with two battered English grammar books, a fresh pair of socks, and a bar of Lifebuoy soap. But soon these efforts turn his life upside down, bringing him face to face with the cruelties on which his very existence depends.
"[A] resonant first novel....Biting humor, perceptive social commentary, and the poetic telling of a poignant tale combine for an exceptional debut." Booklist
"A depiction of ordinary life in the city of Amritsar, this is also a modern novel of perception in the best 19th-century sense, one that presents the human condition without sanctimony; a small book with a great heart." Anna Mundow, The Boston Globe
"The novel's climax...turns The Sari Shop into a slightly ungainly hybrid of light comedy and social manifesto. Still, it's an impressive debut, full of lean and lyrical prose." Ligaya Mishan, The New York Times Book Review
"A somewhat aimless first outing....An intriguing and controversial portrait of modern India, but far too loosely constructed so much so that at times it seems quite meandering." Kirkus Reviews
"The novel comes to life through Bajwa's vibrant descriptions of saris, her sensitive characterization of the shop assistants, and her skillful use of dialog. Readers will take pleasure in this new South Asian voice..." Library Journal
This paperback edition of Bajwa's "ambitious and compelling debut" (Manil Suri, author of "The Death of Vishnu") about a young man from modern-day India looking for his destiny includes a reading group guide.
About the Author
Rupa Bajwa was born in 1976 in Amritsar, India, where she currently lives. This is her first book.