Summer of Canadian Reading 2019
Internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter
The Golden Son is a “sensitive and intelligent work” that tells an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honour and tradition, in which two childhood friends must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts (National Post).
Anil is the cherished eldest son of a large family from an Indian village, expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her dear parents. As childhood friends, they are inseparable—but with the pressures and complications of adulthood, their paths begin to diverge.
Anil is the first in his family to leave India and become a doctor half a world away in Dallas, Texas, where he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture. In India, Leena dreams of a strong, 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.
Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart. Many years later, their lives intersect once again. Altered by their choices and experiences, these two old friends are reunited when they need each other most. A tender and bittersweet story of friendship and family, The Golden Son illuminates the decisions we must make to find our true selves.
“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.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
“Gowda masterfully develops place and characters with visual richness. She offers delicious storytelling. . . . The Golden Son is an absolute page-turner.”
“Like Gowda’s bestselling debut novel, Secret Daughter, this book offers readers vivid cultural immersion.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“A sensitive and intelligent work . . . [with a] finely drawn protagonist. . . . Demonstrates Gowda’s abilities as a sympathetic observer of heart and mind.”
“Gowda is a gifted storyteller, bringing together various related story strands into a fully integrated whole.”