The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter returns with an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honor, tradition, and identity, 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.
The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America. When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.
Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever.
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.
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published January 26, 2016 by William Morrow
ISBN 1443446793 (ISBN13: 9781443446792)
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Anil Patel was ten years old the first time he witnessed one of Papa's arbitrations.Anil has known since he was a boy that he would be a doctor. His father had bigger plans for him than farming the fields of India, as has been his family's history for generations. Now Anil finds himself far from the only home he's ever known, serving his residency at a hospital in Texas. Rooming with two other young men from India, Anil settles into the complicated life of living as an American.
Anil gets word that his father has died, and being the oldest son he is what is known as The Golden Son. He is expected to take on the role of village arbitrator now that his father is gone. This is complicated by the fact that Anil is so far from home, but he does his best to fulfill his duty.
I enjoyed this story. It's a nice exploration of Indian culture, family dynamics and hospital politics. Anil and roommates Baldev and Mahesh become like brothers. They grow and mature together, navigating adulthood and dealing with the demands of their jobs and parents. After lives spent growing up somewhat sheltered, America has new dangers and temptations for each of these young men to handle.
While following Anil, there is a side story going for Leena, childhood friend of Anil and his sister Piya. Leena finds herself in an arranged marriage that is less than happy, and later finds herself in a compromised position.
There are a lot of very likable characters in this story. Anil is a man of great ethic and commitment. His roommates are likewise good men. His sister Piya is sweet and funny with a mind of her own. Leena is guarded, but charming and smart and dedicated.
I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:
Tuesday, January 26th: Raven Haired Girl
Wednesday, January 27th: 5 Minutes For Books
Thursday, January 28th: Books on the Table
Friday, January 29th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, February 2nd: Read. Write. Repeat.
Wednesday, February 3rd: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, February 4th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Monday, February 8th: Novel Escapes
Wednesday, February 10th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Friday, February 12th: A Splendidly Messy Life
My final word: It's unfortunate that I wound up battling the flu while reading and reviewing this book. I'm suffering from brain fog, and feel that I just can't do this book justice. It's a light and easy read, full of likable characters, with enough conflict to hold your interest. It's a great introduction to India and Indian culture (although it seems that not everything portrayed in the book as part of common Indian culture may really be that, as the author did use some creative license). I found myself especially fond of Anil and Leena. I would not hesitate to recommend this book. I only wish I hadn't been too sick to really relax and enjoy this story fully.
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The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.
I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.