The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda [in Library Journal]
In a tiny Indian village, Anil and Leena are constant childhood companions in spite of their vastly different backgrounds. Anil, a member of the farming community’s most important family, is destined for a prestigious medical residency in Dallas. Leena, the only daughter of a modest neighbor, will enter an arranged marriage she never expected. As traditional first-son responsibilities repeatedly bring Anil back to the ancestral home, finding balance between his past and future grows ever more difficult.
Gowda’s (Secret Daughter) resonating saga of two searching souls caught between cultures and clashing expectations finds the ideal narrator in Sunil Malhotra. He effortlessly embodies an impressive cast of characters irrespective of gender, age, or social background, on either side of the globe; his insider status as a South Asian American himself provides his reading with nuanced accuracy. He’s just as versatile as a racist Texan, a privileged daddy’s boy, and an Australian outback transplant, among many others.
Once again, Malhotra takes a good book and makes it that much better. Libraries in search of quality titles to diversify their fiction collections will do well to purchase.