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Other Waters

3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  227 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
“The best novels are those that invite you into an utterly believable world of entirely authentic people in situations about which you care instantly. Gage’s beguiling narrative talent is in splendid evidence in Other Waters, making this fiction debut one of those enthralling novels.”—Katharine Weber, author of The Little Women
Maya is an accomplished psychiatry resident
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 31, 2011 Kimy rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won Other Waters by Eleni N. Gage through a Goodreads Giveaway. I find it enjoyable to read novels about other cultures. I was drawn into the story through the main character, Maya. While some of the things she did made me want to shake her to realize she is being silly, that is no different from most people in the world. Eleni captured human nature very well through this book.

I loved the scenes in India when the book was describing the Indian culture and countryside. From the beginning of the
Jan 16, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
"In Eleni Gage’s Other Waters we meet Maya, a high achieving Indian- American woman living in New York City. On the surface her life is ideal: she has a family who loves her, a successful career in psychiatry, and a sweet boyfriend. But after her beloved Grandmother passes away, and her family is cursed by a bitter servant back in India, things begin to fall apart."

See full review at:

Feb 25, 2012 Alyssa rated it really liked it
Loved this book. It talks about a single Indian woman, Maya, who works as a resident psychiatrist in New York. Her cousin is getting married in India, and Maya and her American best friend, head to Mumbai for the wedding. Fascinating glimpse into Maya's struggles with meshing her "modern American life" with her Indian background and all the familial expectations that go with that.
George Coologeorgen
Enjoyed thoroughly,but felt let down at the end of the book. Was able to draw definite correlations to the ethnic theme of the book - at the end of the day, being Greek and being Indian in America presents many of the same complications. More universally, the struggle that Maya goes through is spot on to what most people probably go through in their pursuit of individual happiness.
Oct 01, 2012 Kiran is currently reading it
May be 1/2 star... trying to read it since 2-3 weeks, but finding it hard to connect with the book. The story lacks depth and the gripping factor so far...
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

Maya is a second-year psychiatry resident, an Indian-American who is keeping her long-term relationship with her boyfriend Scott a secret from her parents, especially her mother, who wants nothing more than for her to find a nice Indian boy to settle down with. Her sister Priya married Tariq, who is Indian, but Muslim, and even now, two children later, her mother Seema has still not fully accepted him.

After her grandm
Dec 12, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
I won this novel through a giveaway several years ago and couldn't get into it despite beginning to read it three or four times. I finally finished it as part of the 2015 Popsugar challenge and I'm glad that I did. Originally this seemed like a mystical novel about a family curse but it was really more about a young woman finding herself as she straddles the span between two cultures. What I thought would be a fantasy novel really fit more into the category of realistic fiction.
The protagonist,
Bonnie Brody
Feb 22, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it liked it
Though Maya was raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, her family has very strong Hindu Indian values. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Maya is in love with a white man named Scott who is blond and blue-eyed. She knows that her family will not approve of him because he is not an educated Indian so she keeps her relationship a secret from them. She, along with all the other women in her immediate family, is a doctor. Maya's specialty is psychiatry. Thus, when her father returns from India and tells Maya ...more
Sharon L. Sherman
Oct 12, 2011 Sharon L. Sherman rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
Gage's narrative about living in two worlds (Indian and American) starts with almost-30 Maya's troubles with her almost live-in boyfriend when her Kalamazoo/India family is faced with the supposed consequences of a vengeful curse.

Through it all Maya does some inner work with her psych mentor/advisor as she completes a psych degree without forcefully analyzing everyone around her to death. The story climazes when Maya is in India for a friend's wedding where the reader is immersed in the living
Oct 31, 2011 Tami rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Haven't received the book yet, just received notice I had won. 10/31/11
Received my copy yesterday, hope to start it soon. I have 2 more in front of it. 11/16/11
Started this morning. 12/9/11
Finished last night. 12/12/11

Maya is Indian, living in New York. She is doing her residency in psychiatry, has the perfect boyfriend, if you ignore the color of his skin, and a very spunky best friend. Her family adores her best friend and has no idea as to her having a boyfriend. Her cousin is getting married
Mar 04, 2012 Karen rated it it was ok
I found this book to be very problematic. First and foremost, I think there was an editing problem; probably 1/4 of the text could and should have been cut. I thought some of the sections were included simply to educate the reader about India, serving no useful purpose for the actual narrative. Additionally, I kept having to re-read sentences, finding myself confused about basic elements of the plot. Second, while I liked the underlying premise and themes, I thought most of the characters were u ...more
The Joy of Booking
Jan 16, 2012 The Joy of Booking rated it liked it
Other Waters is a light, chick-lit-y novel but with more depth than I expected. I really liked the immersion into Indian-American culture as I got to know Maya and her family, even if all of the stereotypes didn't quite ring true. I appreciated the honesty with which some of her romantic relationships played out - I was afraid for a while that I could predict her relationship status at the end of the book, but I was glad to be surprised there, and pleased that the author didn't take the obvious ...more
Oct 01, 2011 Janet rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Other Waters is the story of Maya, a modern, twenty-something Indian American woman torn between her inherent culture and the modern one in which she's grown up. She can't help but compare herself to her older sister and brother who seemingly have it all figured out. But when Maya's father returns from a trip to India and reveals a possible curse has been placed on the family, Maya's world turns upside down. Now the question remains: Who holds the family's destiny in their hands? Is it fate or M ...more
Melanie Coombes
Oct 31, 2011 Melanie Coombes rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
I liked this story. Maya is almost 30 years old, Indian and not yet married. This causes lots of stress and worry for her family who wants to see her settled.
When Maya's dad returns from India saying a curse has been put on their family, Maya pays little attention to it. However, after several bad luck incidents, Maya begins to believe in the power of the curse. She returns to India for a wedding, with the hope that while there, she can have the curse taken back.
I thought the story would revolve
Feb 22, 2012 Brie rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It is one of those books that is more talking than action. Maya is Indian, born to parents that immigrated from India in the US. She is nearing 30, unmarried, and uncertain of how she fits in the US since at times she feels more Indian. Her grandmother dies in India and the servant who lived her whole life with the grandmother curses the family. Illness strikes the family and Maya thinks the curse real. She heads to India to lift the curse and find out who she ...more
Catherine Gordon
Oct 27, 2011 Catherine Gordon rated it liked it
I was fortunate enough to win this book through Good Reads. It starts with an interesting premise when an Indian family are cursed after the death of their grandmother. Whether the curse is real or not doesn't really matter it is more how the daughter feels a sense of displacement as she feels the link to Indian is weakened by the loss of her grandmother but is still uniquely tied to that culture, but has grown up in the West where her parents hoped to give her a better life. I appreciated that ...more
Oct 31, 2011 Dasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I began reading this book, thinking it was too slow for me. That is the only negative thing I have to say about it.

The author did a wonderful job attempting to merge both cultures (Indian & American). I got to visit a different country and feel different personalities- all without a plane ticket.

I found myself following Maya in her life and thoughts. Sympathizing with the experiences with guys. She seemed to find idiots from both extremes of the guy spectrum. But that is life, right?

What Ma
Lori Anaple
I am not giving this a rating because I didn't finish it. I didn't like it. I thought it was boring and superficial. The main character, raised in Kalamazoo MI has strong Hindu roots. So when her father gets back from a funeral he tells her that a former servant put a curse on the family. Then bad things start to happen. Mya is a resident in Psychology and I just couldn't buy that this woman should actually be seeing clients! She is so one dimensional and lacks thought. Her boyfriend is not Indi ...more
Jaclyn Day
Feb 28, 2012 Jaclyn Day rated it really liked it
This book sounds a little bit like the prototypical chick lit if you read the publisher’s description, but don’t be put off by the girl-in-NYC-who-finds-herself-in-India clicheness of it. That’s a bare bones synopsis that doesn’t fully convey how well-written and thought-provoking this book is. It’s a subtle novel—it definitely grew on me the more I read. There’s a lot in it about relationships and about family, but it’s never thrown in the reader’s face or laid out in a series of quotable quote ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would at the start. It's chick lit in that it is focused on a female character and her romantic struggles, but it's not mindless or cliche like some.

Maya manages to over think almost everything in her life, but in that way I found her realistic and relate-able. The story was not as predictable as I originally thought it would be, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Perhaps my favorite part of the whole book was being introduced to a culture wh
Kitty Honeycutt
Jul 05, 2012 Kitty Honeycutt rated it it was amazing
Book Title: "Other Waters”
Author: Eleni N. Gage
Published By: St. Martin’s Press
Age Recommended: 18+
Reviewed By: Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating: 5

Review: Eleni’s writing style and the story itself somewhat reminded me of “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. The heroine, Maya has the perfect life in the states, but when tragedy strikes the family she finds herself not only in the position to save them all, but to make a journey that soon has her finding herself.
This story is timeless, beautifully w
Oct 12, 2012 Kristina rated it did not like it
I'm really having some bad luck with novels. This book doesn't seem (according to the description on the dust jacket) to be a chick novel, but the more I read, the more it is going in that direction. It's not badly written but I don't care about the characters all that much. As much as I hate to add another book to my "can't read" shelf, I'd hate even more to spend another week struggling to read it when I could move onto something better. I can't even give advice on whether anyone should read i ...more
May 21, 2012 Ellen rated it liked it
This novel was pretty enjoyable but there were a few jarring bits of dialogue that just didn't sound right. Gage is Greek so I'm not surprised at this. The characters in this book are mostly Asian Indians educated in the US or England. I found the conflict that the main character has between wanting to please her family by marrying and wanting to please herself by taking her time in choosing a husband to be pretty realistic and the lack of resolution to also be pretty realistic, even if I would ...more
Jan 21, 2012 Carol rated it liked it
A story of a young woman trying to be happy living in two cultures. She doesn't see herself as very successful in either. The blurb on the back cover says, "...entirely authentic people in situations about which you care instantly." this is where the book sticks for me. I'm not sure the author ever made me deeply care for the principle character.
The book moved along well and was quite easy to read and I was happy enough to read it but never really connected to it. it was a giveaway book from Go
Amber Polo
Feb 21, 2012 Amber Polo rated it really liked it
A good read for the romance reader in the mood for a more realistic view of love and commitment. Ms. Gage offers a good balance of conflict between family, career, and relationships with depth and sensitivity for every character. Both scenes in NYC and India came alive with color and culture.

I especially loved the Bollywood references and want to be invited to a Bollywood themed Indian wedding. Still trying to remember the name of the Jane Austin takeoff Bollywood movie, so I can watch it again
Dec 02, 2011 Nicola rated it liked it
I did enjoy this book. I liked the struggle that Maya was going through, trying to fit into two very different worlds, keep everyone happy and still be true to herself. As a result of this conflict Maya is not truly aware of who she is. Learning to accept herself and those around her as they are was difficult, but inspiring for her. Well done Gage - this was written in a engaging and fluid way. I was however disappointed with the ending, or lack of ending. I felt that there should be more- leavi ...more
Karen O'donnell tennenbaum
Mar 25, 2013 Karen O'donnell tennenbaum rated it really liked it
I liked this book! I was a little disheartened after reading the reviews here right after I purchased it! I had it on my NY Times Book Review reading list for quite a while and was looking forward to it! I'm glad I didn't let the reviews here discourage me from reading it! I thought it was well written and intelligent! It held my interest and was a nice glimpse into life in India and the difficulties of cultural integration!
Jessica Norris
Mar 18, 2015 Jessica Norris rated it really liked it
Well, I haven't finished it, so I will update this review, but I am definitely hooked! I had just reached the midpoint of the series of unfortunate events when my mom and I had a miscommunication and she took it with her on a trip (I recommended it, didn't mean to give it to her!). I just ordered a kindle copy so I don't have to wait 6 days until I get it back to keep going. That must mean 5 stars!!
Sally Guillen
Dec 01, 2011 Sally Guillen rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
While I tried to get into this book it just didn't grab me. I slowly read the first half of the book and it just became apparent that I had lost total interest. I grabbed other books and took a break from this one, but nothing helped.

This book is about a young Indian woman named, Maya who struggles with balancing her wants and what her family/culture expect out of her. I may come back to this book again at another time as I hate not finishing a book.
Liz V.
Nov 07, 2011 Liz V. rated it really liked it
Other Waters explores the pressures on an educated child, of educated immigrants, to succeed in America while fulfilling traditional Hindu cultural expectations. Other Waters is, in fact, applicable to all immigrant groups in our so-called melting pot culture, but the most closely examined characters are women, making the book stand out from others.

My sole quibble is the ending, which is artistic but not believable. Hypothermia comes to mind.

An ARC copy from Goodreads.
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The daughter of a Greek father and a Minnesotan mother, Eleni Gage grew up in Athens, Greece, and Worcester, Massachusetts, and has always been fascinated by cultural rituals, traditions, and syncretisms. That interest led her to study Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University as an undergraduate, and, eventually, to earn an equally practical master's degree, an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction ...more
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