Dipika’s husband is Malaysian; the novel was deemed ‘too political for America’ by publishers she submitted it to here. It was published by a U.K. press, and I’m looking forward to reading it.
I do wish Serai (Chicago’s only Malaysian restaurant) was a bit closer, as I would gladly eat their chicken curry with roti pratha (buttery, flaky deliciousness) and their nasi lemak (coconut milk rice, fried egg, beef rendang, pickled vegetables, and onion sambal) every week. Worth a trip to Logan Square, recommended. Yum.
“In Mukherjee’s contemporary political novel, colonialism threatens a family. Jay Ghosh, professor of biotechnology and a Malaysian living in Boston, returns home after 30 years to pay back debts to his mentor, Colonel S, and to the family of his lost love, Shanti. His presence disturbs Shanti’s daughter, Agni, and her grandmother, Shapna, as do the street protests of ethnic Indians, “immigrants” who have lived in Malaysia for decades. Worse, Colonel S, an expert in explosives, plans to take matters into his own hands. Mukherjee imbues her family drama with the crossbred history of intertwined communities who celebrate one another’s holidays even as they carp about one another’s failings. Jay and Agni, the “broken things,” approach healing through their buried history “until the river floods and the silt uncovers what should remain hidden.”” — Publisher’s Weekly review