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Madras on Rainy Days: A Novel
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Madras on Rainy Days: A Novel

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  528 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Layla is torn among clashing identities--dutiful Muslim daughter and free, independent American woman. When she is nineteen, her parents inform Layla that a marriage has been arranged for her to an Indian man she doesn't know. A stunned Layla submits reluctantly but not before she commits a dangerous, final act of defiance. In the heat and noise of Hyderabad, as her weddin ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2004)
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Sarah Sammis
I had just finished reading North from Calcutta by Duane Evans and was thinking of the Business World review which complained about the lack of Indian literary fiction written by actual Indians. The article contended there was plenty of pulp fiction published every year but rarely was it written in English or translated into English. India was therefore left to outsiders to represent itself to the rest of the world.

I don't know how valid the Business World observation is but it did get me to thi
I was fine with how the book started. Until about page 20 that is. Then it went downhill. The main character had some problem, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out if she was pregnant or on her period or delusional! It was frustrating. The language was frustrating, the ambiguous narration was irritating and to top it all, the servants in the book were always talking long paragraphs of broken English and I felt like I had to endure these nails-screeching-on-blackboard portions to get thro ...more
Liz Phillips
Using my quiet patch to catch up on the older books in my "To Read" pile. I love books like this - colourful characters and insight into different cultures.
Kieran Walsh
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Great fictional account of the post Indira Ghandi assasination massacres. Fantastic writer.
Awful! Left a nasty feeling at then end. A truly dysfunctional Indian Muslim woman and her family.
This book had some unexpected twists. I love learning about other cultures.
Kae Cheatham
Good language throughout and a strong picture of the cultures.
Intimate look inside the world of a Muslim woman in India.
Picked this up a month or so back when I stopped in to release some books on the shelf. Read it while on a trip to Atlanta. Having lived in India, and in a highly Muslim area, I was interested to read many of the details, especially in the beginning, about weddings and commitments. But I also found the writing a little ambiguous in some crucial areas. For instance, for the longest time, I was unclear if Layla needed a good Ob/Gyn, psychiatrist, or exorcism. The "mystery" of her husband's behavio ...more
Layla, the young protagonist, spends half the year in Minneapolis with her blended but broken nuclear family, the other half in Hyderabad with this family and a large community of relatives and friends.

The story centers around Layla's return to Hyderabad to reluctantly complete an arranged marriage and continues through the early weeks of the marriage. Layla and her groom, Sameer, each harbor devastating secrets that play out in rather predictable but still engrossing ways.

THe plot does spiral
To put it bluntly, this is the story of how a woman who had extramarital sex attempts to abort her unborn child. So if you don't like reading about this sort of thing and if all you wanted was, like me, a balanced view of culture and some lovely romance, this does NOT fit the bill.

It is actually a rather lamely executed, obvious text as, like many cross-cultural stories of its kind, it butters up the values of western society at the expense of those of 'foreign' cultures. Unfortunately, this nov
Richly detailed, Madras on Rainy Days was an interesting view into the lives of two Indian Muslim families. A reluctant bride in an arranged marriage, Layla is frantic due to secrets about her past. Desperate to build a home and a family, Layla goes through with the wedding only to find that almost everyone she knows (her mother, her cousin, her husband) are concealing things and her world shifts and changes with each new revealation.

What I particularly enjoyed was how Layla and Sameer's relati
Madras on Rainy Days has been overlooked. I am grateful and honored to have read it.

This book is haunting as you begin to feel as the main character does and become more drawn to her experience. The story itself is complex and compelling. I found the psychological and emotional portrayal of Layla and other characters to be intricate, multi-layered and intriguing. It felt honest and I empathized with the characters. I especially appreciated Layla's feeling straddled between two cultures and its r
The story started out really slow and I had a hard time staying interested, but then almost halfway through, it picked up steam and I wanted to know how the story ended. I agree with some of the previous reviewers in that I was so confused as to what was wrong with the protagonist and her never ending bleeding. The servants' dialogue were also hard to follow and I had to reread a few of them to understand what they were trying to say. The author kept rattling on in some parts where she could hav ...more
A very well written and emotionally charged book but it seriously depressed the shit out of me and gave me major anxiety.
Jessica Vestal
This was an awesome book!! I couldn't set it down.
I got through 80 pages of this book, and gave up! Its poorly structured..seemingly endless description of the marriage and her dilemma about her fiance and her condition.. I never did understand after getting through quarter of the book if she was pregnant or not or was mentally disturbed or some other psychic problem! Thought i would give a new Indian author a try.. but this was a disappointment!
Story of a young muslim indian woman, who has spent considerable amounts of time in the US, but is back in India for her arranged marriage. Complicating matters is the lasting effects of a miscarriage, the pregnancy a result of her relationship with an American boyfriend, who she's really in love with. The arranged husband seems likeable enough, until she gets to know him better... I enjoyed the book.
A good solid read, about an Indian Muslim woman who has lived in the US for most of her life, gets pregnant (whoops!), moves to India, and takes medicine that causes her to have a miscarriage, and then has an arranged marriage to a man who she falls in love with, but is gay (whoops!). The book highlights oppressive cultural restrictions, and the pain of those who live with them.
Very well written. This story is about a culture very different from mine so I was drawn in immediately. There were a lot of details that some people my find boring or tedious, but were fascinating to me. The end was a little dramatic, but still, completely worth the read. Loved it. During the weekend that I read it, I hated putting it down.
I found this a bit clumsily written. There were a lot of Urdu words that were untranslated, so much so that it got hard to follow. It may have been the electronic version, but there were a lot of typos that also got distracting. I am still thinking about the story itself. The ending was very graphic and then, I felt, unsatisfying.
Dec 27, 2007 Sana rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Never did I dislike a book so much! I couldn't relate to any of the so-called Indian Muslim traditions stated in the book, even though I spent a good part of my life in the city where most of the story is set. The synopsis on the book cover made it sound like an interesting read, it just turned out to be a disappointing one.
At first I thought oh normal, normal, but my what a change comes over the book in the characters' lives and in the story of their lives. The plot thickens and the unravelling that occurs in the story is so beautifully told, within this Muslim culture of families and friends. This is quite an outstanding read.
I found this book somewhat disturbing and dont find the traditions within this story to hold true today. I was however captivated.

The events and uncovered truths towards the conclusion of the novel were shocking and overwhelming. I have a feeling this is very loosely based on the authors own experiences.
book was ok. although some of the language and seemingly unnecessary details clouded the story, I continued to read bc I was interested in what was next. the story continued, even after the big reveal 3/4 of the way, but I eventually put the book down for good. couldn't take the rest.
I loved this book! The story is so interesting and compelling. Ali gets to the heart of identity conflict and the desire to fit in while also remain and individual. I love the main characters Layla and Sameer as well. Highly recommended.
Laura Holland
Although there are interesting insights in this book on Muslim arranged marriages and the treatment of women in that society, I thought this book was pretty forgettable. I've read many other books on the same subject that I liked better.
uhhh... 150 pages of going on and on about her umrikan ex?!... its a pretty tritely written text despite the fact that its topics are really rarely addressed in Indian (esp south Indian) culture/texts. could have been better executed...
This book bothered me. It started out ok but it quickly got broody which turned into whiny and then to flat out annoying. I will say, that I did learn a little bit about some of the Indian Muslim traditions, that was pretty interesting.
The book was well written, interesting characters. I wanted to finish it to find out what happens to everyone. It does explore bi-cultural issues in an interesting way. But it's rather depressing. One tragedy after another.
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