The author of the bestselling Secret Daughter returns with an unforgettable story in which two childhood friends—a young doctor and a newly married bride—must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts.
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. Fiercely brave Leena is his closest companion. Childhood friends—in spite of the inequalities of life and circumstance—they are inseparable, but with the complications of adulthood, their paths begin to diverge.
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 against the setting of a gritty urban hospital.
Leena leaves her beloved home to join her new husband in a distant village, but the arranged marriage shatters her romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family.
Anil’s new American life begins to come apart after a tragic mistake and he is eventually drawn home, where he and Leena meet once again at a time when they need each other most. Tender and bittersweet, The Golden Son illuminates the ambivalence of people caught between past and present, tradition and modernity, duty and choice, the push and pull of living in two cultures, and the painful decisions we must make to find our true selves.
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.
“Like Gowda’s bestselling debut novel, Secret Daughter, this book offers readers vivid cultural immersion.”
“A sensitive and intelligent work . . . [with a] finely drawn protagonist. . . . Demonstrates Gowda’s abilities as a sympathetic observer of heart and mind.”
“Gowda masterfully develops place and characters with visual richness. She offers delicious storytelling. . . . The Golden Son is an absolute page-turner.”
“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 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.”
“Gowda is a gifted storyteller, bringing together various related story strands into a fully integrated whole.”
“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’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 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.”