From the beloved author of Secret Daughter comes a moving new novel of a young man at the crossroads of life
Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her close-knit family. As childhood friends, they are inseparable—but as adulthood approaches, they grow apart.
Anil is the first person in his family to leave India, the first to attend college, the first to become a doctor. Half a world away in Dallas, Texas, he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture: he tastes alcohol for the first time, falls in love, and learns firsthand about his adopted country’s alluring, dangerous contradictions. Though his work in a gritty urban hospital is grueling, Anil is determined to carve out his own life in America.
At home, Leena dreams of marriage, a strong and true love like the one shared by her parents, and leaves her beloved home to join her new husband’s family in a distant village.
Then things start to go wrong: Anil makes a medical mistake with tragic results, his first love begins to fray and a devastating event makes him question his worth as a doctor and as a friend. On a visit home, Anil rekindles a friendship with the woman who seems to understand him better than anyone else. But their relationship is complicated by a fateful decision made years earlier.
As the two old friends discover each other again, they must also weigh the choice between responsibility and freedom, and between loyalty and love.
“Gowda can write up moments that break your heart. . . . The Golden Son combines the immigrant novel with a fascination for the insecure and dependent lives of rural women in India.”
“From a poor village in India to the journey of a boy who escapes to become a brilliant and sensible doctor at a high-tech medical center in Dallas, Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s sweeping love story is meticulous in its detail, heartfelt—and a great read.”
“Like Gowda’s bestselling debut novel, Secret Daughter, this book offers readers vivid cultural immersion.”
“Shilpi Somaya Gowda paints an illuminating portrait of a young Indian man who must learn to reconcile his career ambitions in America with the traditional values and expectations of his family in India. Compellingly written, The Golden Son will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.”
“Gowda has the writerly chops when it comes to pace and plot. . . . The novel’s denouement manages to subvert expectations, while still fulfilling the fable’s responsibility to convey a useful, resonant truth.”
“Shilpi Somaya Gowda is as adept at crafting disparate, fully realized worlds—a village in India, a medical school in Texas—as she is at creating compelling characters.”
“The Golden Son successfully achieves the virtually impossible: it is every bit as good and strong as . . . Secret Daughter. . . . It was five years in the making and worth the wait.”
“Gowda is a gifted storyteller, bringing together various related story strands into a fully integrated whole.”
“A sensitive and intelligent work . . . [with a] finely drawn protagonist. . . . Demonstrates Gowda’s abilities as a sympathetic observer of heart and mind.”
A stellar follow-up to Gowda’s excellent debut. Vivid, heart-warming, and absorbing, The Golden Son succeeds as an immigrant’s tale and love story wrapped into one because of the beautiful writing and compelling characters that illuminate universal truths of loss and identity.
“Gowda masterfully develops place and characters with visual richness. She offers delicious storytelling. . . . The Golden Son is an absolute page-turner.”
“Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s great achievement is this: she makes each locale she depicts fascinating and true and original; she makes each character she draws so heartbreakingly vibrant that even after we finish reading we can’t forget them.”
“The Golden Son triumphs because of its many pleasures and complications: romantic intrigues, family vendettas, unexpected tragedies and criminal secrets harbored by characters in both India and America. This satisfying immersion in two complicated cultures offers no easy resolutions.”