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The Abundance

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  677 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
When Mala and Ronak learn that their mother has only a few months to live, they are reluctantly pulled back into the Midwestern world of their Indian immigrant parents. In the brief time between diagnosis and deterioration, busy, efficient Mala commits to mastering her mother's slow art of Indian cooking. Perfecting the raita and the rotli, the two begin not only to work t ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Picador (first published March 4th 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Robin
This is the best book I've read in a long time. It was painful yet beautiful, and the characters seemed very real to me. Although it sells itself as being a novel about the divide between first and second generation Indian immigrants, the book was much more universal in its theme of family relationships. Now excuse me while I go cry and hug my kids and call my mom.
Shilpa
Feb 28, 2013 Shilpa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amit Majmudar has an emotional IQ of infinity.
☕Laura
In his first novel, Partitions, Amit Majmudar dealt brilliantly with the large-scale tragedy of the partitioning of India. In this book he deals with the much more personal yet equally tragic circumstance of a family facing a terminal diagnosis. What he does so beautifully here is to create characters and situations that feel unwaveringly real. There is no dramatic dysfunction, no "good guys" or "bad guys", just ordinary people making their way through the challenges, complexities, and blessings ...more
Siria
I really enjoyed this—Majmudar isn't a flashy writer, but his prose is smooth, his dialogue realistic, and the novel as a whole does an excellent job at exploring familial dynamics. The unnamed narrator is an older Indian-American immigrant, slowly dying of cancer; she has a tense relationship with her overachieving daughter; her son holds himself apart, trying to be 'Ron' instead of 'Ronak'; her husband loves her but has never had to think about stepping outside the gender roles to which he is ...more
Jillian Goldberg
A new author for me and one I have not heard about. I could not put it down from the first page. It's not a thriller, on the contrary, it is a very quiet, simple, ordinary story about ordinary people and their ordinary lives. Yet the craft, the sensibilities, the perceptions and the deep love of family that comes through, make this a powerful book. Perhaps it resonated particularly strongly for me as a sixty something woman: the protagonist and narrator, is an older woman at a turning point in h ...more
Himanshu
Mar 07, 2013 Himanshu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a truly well-done, moving novel that makes very small gestures, words, or situations take on momentous, even tragic dimension.

It is important to read the novel independently of the summary on the back. The summary makes it sound as though the start of the conflict is the son's decision to sell the story. But really that is the son's desperate last-ditch attempt to involve himself in the bonding that has been going on between the mother and daughter--it happens very late in the book itsel
...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 09, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A moving and bittersweet story of mothers, their children and second generation immigrants. When their mother is diagnosed with cancer, both children and their families, find their mothers in different ways. The daughter Mala, has always had somewhat of a contentious relationship with her mother but mother and daughter heal their relationship by cooking together. In the kitchen they become the friends they always wanted to be, bonding over the cooking of Indian food. The difference in the ethnic ...more
Dianne
Jun 15, 2013 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love books about Indian culture and this was a good one. The narrator is an older Indian woman who has been diagnosed with cancer and is dying. She reflects on her life, her familial relationships and the challenges of being an immigrant. It's a gentle book about a lovely woman's last days and the importance of tradition and family.
Nancy
Aug 18, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm still reading this book, but I had to comment midway that I am loving Dr. Majmudar's voice and his writing style. His turns of phrase are evocative and poetic and weave beautiful images. As other reader-reviewers have noted, it is a marvel that this book is written by a man, since he expresses female viewpoint insights for his heroine that are thoughtful and rich.

I would recommend this book to everyone.

I finished The Abundance last night and wept. Dr. Majmudar's heroine (unnamed throughout t
...more
Michelle
Mar 19, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Well, I had to bring this home from the new-book shelf since it had Indian spices on the cover. I was actually hoping for MORE cooking than was in the book, but I found myself so drawn into the life of this family in which the mother and cook was slowly dying of cancer, that in the end I did not care that the food was really peripheral to the family story. There is a part of the book in which the difficult daughter draws closer to her mother by learning to cook her Indian recipes, but the real d ...more
Wendy Bousfield
Feb 03, 2014 Wendy Bousfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india

SPOILERS

Midway through reading THE ABUNDANCE, I thought (a bit dismissively) that this was the simple story of a dying woman's regret that she can no longer nurture her family with the meticulously prepared meals that have been her life. When her daughter sets herself the task of learning her mother's recipes and skills, the novel, I thought, embodied the kind of wish-fulfillment we have all experienced. How many times have we wished we had asked deceased relatives questions or learned their ski
...more
Cheryl
Mar 18, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mala and Ronak’s mother has a secret. She has terminal cancer. However is does not want her children to know as she does not want to ruin their visit home. She does not do a good job of hiding her secret. Once Mala and Ronak find out, they decide to spend more time with their mother. For Mala this means learning how to cook traditional Indian food. For Ronak, he pays a crew to plant his mother’s garden as she can not get out to do it herself.

I have not read Mr. Majmudar’s Partitions, however af
...more
Audrey Sanders
Aug 30, 2015 Audrey Sanders rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though Indian culture is not something I know a lot about, I thought this was well-written and easy to read. The characters were very relatable. I think the internal family dynamics/conflicts were pretty universal and not just isolated to first and second generation Indian immigrants.
Elizabeth Marro
Jan 22, 2014 Elizabeth Marro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Within a very small landscape, explores the sweeping subjects of love, death, and family across cultural and generational divides. Beautiful writing.
Baljit
May 16, 2017 Baljit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would rate this 4.5 stars. It broaches a very difficult topic sensitively and delicately but addresses things most people are afraid to bring up.
The writers characters are Indian migrants and first generation Americans; he writes thru their eyes, but his narrative is not mired in culture. He shows that gender issues and stereotypes exist on both side of the fence. The dynamics between children born in a different land from their parents, is explored in a frank but sensitive manner. Not many w
...more
Mj
Jul 08, 2013 Mj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013
I usually research and choose books carefully. Reading The Abundance was pure happen stance. I was looking through the new book arrivals at my library. The Abundance cover, book description and author recommendations caught my fancy and so I decided to check it out.

I wasn’t disappointed. The prose was very lyrical. The author writes very well. I’m a foodie so the focus on Indian food appealed to me. Primarily, however this is a book about relationships, in particular, family dynamics.

The story w
...more
Maryme
Aug 06, 2014 Maryme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moving & uplifting book about death
Of course, this book is about more than death. Although the story’s voice and point-of-view of are that of a dying woman, it is so beautifully written that it is a pleasure to see her world through her eyes. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother who has lived in the United States most of her adult life, but who was born in India. Her devoted husband also grew up in India. In fact, theirs was an arranged marriage which evolved to be a relationship of perhap
...more
Mathis Bailey
This book was just want I needed to pull me out my reading slump. In this short 250 page novel, it packs a whole lot of masala with laughter,love, hate, and heartbreak. What drew me to this novel was the gorgeous cover-art, and for someone who is a foodie and enamored with the Indian culture I had to pluck this one off the shelf. I enjoyed how the author tells the story of second generation American-Indians battling with old traditions and assimilation. I find these kind of stories intriguing.

T
...more
Darnia
May 20, 2016 Darnia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, 2016
3.5/5 stars

Another book about dying person and their changing life during the waiting. This time, the story came from a mother's perspective, how she managed the dying news and the reactions among family, relatives and friends. Yes, it was drama, but no..it wasn't an annoying ones. The story ran so smooth, so beautiful, and it came from an immigrant India mother. How she compared her past as a newcomer with her children life nowadays. How she sacrificed her dreams to focused on her children.

And
...more
Mom
Mar 03, 2015 Mom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books I love because of their plot; I read non-stop, impatient to know what happens.

Some books I love for their lyrical poetic language; I want to read and reread passages outloud, for the wonder of the words.

And then there is The Abundance. This book caught me in a different way. A quiet and simple book, The Abundance is populated by real people, characters as real as ourselves. Their emotions, their actions, were so eloquently and realistically described that I was inside their minds.

The
...more
A. S.
Apr 11, 2014 A. S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I was going to read a different plot than I actually read. For those who read the plot summary on the inside flap, the actual plot has very little to do with an argument between the dying mother and her children's idea to publish her recipes.

Instead, the book, written in the perspective of the cancer-stricken Indian mother. The book does not use her name often, if at all, and it's hard to tell in the first few pages that it is actually she that is narrating (which initially made me not
...more
Anna
Feb 22, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
This novel is a quick read. The author shows how a conversation between a mother and an adult child can shift in a nanosecond from intimate to distant, how we set each other off, even knowing what the danger areas are. The seascape of love, sensitivity, approach/ flee across generations, with the impossibilities of knowing one another, or at least the challenges, even as we do know parts of one another intimately, at least in our shared histories. This is the story of older immigrant generation ...more
Karin
Sep 06, 2014 Karin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the most compelling books I've read all year. I can't even think of the last time I read writing by a male that portrayed women in such a nuanced, complex, and completely believable way. While the book jacket makes it seem like the story is about selling the mother's recipes, that's really a small part of the whole story. It is a reflection on family, dying, tradition, and the differences in American vs. Indian cultures. I look forward to reading more from Dr. Majmudar...his writi ...more
Debdanz
I don't usually like books written by men from the female perspective- they don't usually ring true to me. But, in this case, it did; I don't know whether I was more accepting since there was a difference in cultural perspective as well or whether the author was just able to empathize sufficiently. This was simply a heart-felt story about a hard time of life.
Priya
Jul 31, 2016 Priya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely real, accurate and relatable. Love that a man wrote this book.
Lynn Flora ewing
May 07, 2017 Lynn Flora ewing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written and insightful.
Aya
Mar 14, 2017 Aya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally, finishing this book! ((:
I found this book back in 2016, freshly graduated from university, Big Bad Wolf book fair had came here and I need something to fulfill my hunger of the diaspora thing.

This book is painful yet captivating. His dialogue is realistic. It's not your typical "emotions-roller-coaster" thing, but it's quiet yet simple. It's like an art: it's not perfect, it doesn't make you feel nice, but it makes you feel something. It tells us about cooking can put back the family i
...more
Brenda
Jan 21, 2014 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Abundance is a poignant and bittersweet story about how cooking traditional foods becomes a way for one Indian immigrant family is able to cross the generational divide and provide a legacy for the next generation to enjoy and remember their family and traditions.

Our narrator is Mala and Ronak’s mother who has just found out that she has terminal cancer. It is right before the holidays, and she is determined to not let her diagnosis overshadow their celebrations. But no matter how hard she t
...more
Tali
I was a bit wary when I first started reading this book, as I had won it on one of the Goodreads giveaways and I was a little worried that I wouldn't enjoy it and would have to post a not-so-flattering review. Luckily, this didn't turn out to be the case at all. I really liked this book. It made me smile and it made me cry and I'm so glad I won it because it's not something I would automatically reach out for in a book store.
This is the story of the unnamed narrator, a first-generation Indian mo
...more
Carol
Dec 17, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-indian, 2014
The Abundance by Amit Majmudar is a beautifully written book about a mother dying and the effect of the experience on her husband and her children. The author has demonstrated such a tremendous sensitivity that makes you forget that the mother’s character is written by a man.

The mother really wants a celebration of life instead of discussing her coming death. She loves it so much, she loves music, art, books and cooking, especially cooking. She wants to keep on loving life as long as she is aliv
...more
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Amit Majmudar is the author of The Abundance, Partitions, chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best debut novels of 2011 and by Booklist as one of the year’s ten best works of historical fiction. His poetry has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Best American Poetry 2011. A radiologist, he lives in Columbus, Ohio.
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“Abhi turns on the television, but in vain. Not silent is not the same as full.” 0 likes
“After Mala found out, she would behave differently. She would be careful. That occasional harshness of hers—I would miss it. Because harshness, paradoxically, is intimate. You have to be very close; you have to be family. My nearness to death will estrange me.” 0 likes
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