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Where Earth Meets Water

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  160 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In this poignant and breathtaking debut, one man searches for meaning in the wake of incomparable tragedy…

Karom Seth should have been in the Twin Towers on the morning of 9/11, and on the Indian shores in 2004, when the tsunami swept his entire family into the ocean. Whether it's a curse or a blessing, Karom can't be sure, but his absence from these disasters has left him
Paperback, 269 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Harlequin MIRA (first published January 1st 2014)
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I really enjoyed the concept of WHERE EARTH MEETS WATER, Karom has avoided death three times in his life, as a child in the Bhopal Gas disaster in India in 1984, the Twin Towers on 9/11 in the USA and the South East Asian tsunami of 2004. He thinks he is invincible and constantly pushes the safety boundaries to test fate, like stepping out in the traffic to catch a taxi or standing on the very edge of the station platform as the train comes in, and it drives his girlfriend and best mate mad. It’ ...more
J. Else
**I won this book free in a Goodreads First Read giveaway, but all the opinions expressed are my unbiased honest review.**

This story is inspired by the author’s personal experience with tragedy including working in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center a few days before 9/11 and being in the same location a few minutes before the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. While this was an interesting effort, I felt it lacked clarity and focus. I appreciated the title and its bearing on the story. I appreciated
When I bought this book from Harlequin’s website, I thought this will be also a book about romance and relationships. But I was highly mistaken. This book has got a lot more and that’s why I would advice you to read this book patiently and try to absorb each and every emotion of the book. Normally, I like to finish a book as soon as possible and it’s very rare for me to not to finish the book in one go. But while I was reading this book, I had to take breaks to understand what each character is ...more
I was fortunate to win a copy of the book Where Earth Meets Water by Pia Padukone through Goodreads First Reads. I enjoyed this book for the full-characters of Karom, Kamini, Gita & Lloyd, for the individual stories behind the characters and how they all bind together to help Karom come to terms with, and move through the pain of his past and into a happier, hopeful life.

I found the book somewhat confusing with regards to timing. The story went back and forth in time quite a bit and at time
I was lucky enough to have won this book to read, what a great story. This is the Authors first novel and I already look forward to more of her writing.
This book revolves mainly around four characters, Karom, Gita, Lloyd, and Kamini, each of whom becomes a pivotal part of Karom's life, and are swept up into his obsession that fate has singled him out for invincibility. The author states in an interview, that she had also gone through quite a few near misses in her life, which made this story and
Jul 28, 2014 Natasha rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fr
Recieved through Goodreads Firstreads. Thanks!

I always feel awful when I give a less than stellar review of a book, thinking of the person behind it, but I also know that I need to be honest.

Where Earth Meets Water had a good solid story behind it and I think that if it was written a bit differently I could have really enjoyed it. I did enjoy it some, but overall I found it badly organised. We start of in one place, at one time and then you backtrack to get some history on the characters and wha
This was a wonderful read, much different than what I expected from a debut author. The writing was rich, the images vivid, the storyline tight and well-thought out. Padukone is a writer to watch. I look forward to devouring her next effort.
There were challenges reading this story which is told by many characters connected by their relationship to Karom. To my mind pushing through to the resolution was worth the effort.

Central to the narratives is the fact that Gita loves Karom, they have been together for years. All relationships to Karom are shadowed by his guilt and grief. He has survived loss in catastrophe after catastrophe. He expresses his confusion with The Game- standing on tracks, on cliffs, in the street daring the cosmo
A Fine Debut Novel About Fate, Love And Trying To Understand the Meaning of Life

“Where Earth Meets Water”, the debut novel of fellow Stuyvesant High School alumnus Pia Padukone, is not, in the words of my friend Gary Shteyngart, just a “smart and insightful” novel that is “…[a] worthy addition to the burgeoning field of Indian literature”. It is an elegant, often mesmerizing, debut novel about fate, love and trying to understand the meaning of life; a compelling tale with universal themes that s
The interestingly named Karom Seth has survived more than anybody’s share of natural and man-made disasters. He has cheated death more than once, when it came down heavily upon his family and friends. Understandably, his conscience is ravaged, and he casts a pall of gloom on people close to him. Can Karom and those who love him get over this guilt together? Across continents, Kamini Pai (grandmother to Karom’s girlfriend Gita), grapples with her own set of struggles with admirable resilience. Wi ...more
A story of struggle for Self Identity

I admit I would have not chosen this book if it were not promoted to be the focus of an upcoming book club discussion. I am thoroughly appreciative I purchased and read this book in a faster time than I normally read!!

It’s intelligent literature, and yet down to earth. The author focuses on the theme of relationships and identity in these contexts: between 1st and 2nd generation Indian-American adults, and facing obstacles. Within this heavy theme is a story
Jessica Bronder
This story revolves around Karom, Gita, Lloyd, and Kamini. Karom is suffering from survivor’s guilt due to different circumstances; he was not in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and missed the tsunami that hit in 2004. Gita is Karom’s girlfriend. She is trying to help and decides to take Karom on a trip to India to visit with her grandmother Kamini. Lloyd is Karom’s friend that has other feelings and things that he is trying to figure out between his soon to be wife and Karom.

Kamini is a tough lady tha
Andy Plonka
Karoom Seth had led an interesting life in that he has survived at least two world catastrophes, a tsunami in India, and the World Trade Center collapse. To say he suffers from survivor's guilt is correct; it has all but consumed him. His girlfriend Gita and his buddy Lloyd have gone to heroic lengths to try and help him,but to no avail.
Gita has a plan to take him to India to make connections with his remaining relatives. She thinks that because of his Indian heritage, the Indian viewpoint may
*goodreads giveaway*
Actual rating 3.5
This isn't a novel is normally read but I found it quite enjoyable. I could see where the writer was trying to go in terms of emotion but I could only "almost" sympathize.

I think that too many themes were being tackled, too many voices telling the story, but coincidence vs fate, and epic disasters are always interesting. All in all an easy read.
Kasa Cotugno
This is a very impressive debut. Unlike other reviewers, the time shifts and locales did not bother me, but the passion with which Padukone addresses her primary subject, that of survivor guilt and loss, holds the narrative together. Told from several points of view with almost a Roshomon like sensibility, the story advances in a circular fashion, with the central character of Karom Seth in all his complexity and appeal. The only segment I found to be forced and did not add anything to the overl ...more
Karom loses his parents when a tsunami unexpectedly strikes India while they are vacationing. He is absolutely devastated, as he is forced to begin to go through their belongings in a brownstone in Queens. In the night stand beside their bed, which he describes as one of the most private places in their house, he finds an envelope with his name on it. Inside is a narrative, written alternately by both of his parents, in which they confess to him that he is adopted, that his parents were killed i ...more
Scott Haraburda
Goodreads First Reads Giveaway Book.


Why do bad things happen to some people frequently, while others have the tendency to avoid them? Where Earth Meets Water is a fictional story of people who avoided some of the recent tragedies that we’ve seen on the front pages of major international newspapers.

This is a story inspired by the author’s personal experience with tragedy, including working in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center just a few days before 9/11 and bei
The novel addresses survivor's guilt, chance, and destiny in a very unique way. By explaining the different facets of Karom's character in a nonlinear way and from multiple radically different perspectives, Padukone creates a very accesible narrative of tragedy and rebuilding. I would recommend it to those in their late twenties or early thirties and getting ready to build a home or a family. The novel is slightly lacking in its sense of cohesion, although there is an air of purposefulness to th ...more
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

And I should say right off the bat that I have the same publisher as Ms. Padukone, but that has not influenced my review in any way.

This book is terrific.

The GoodReads listing seems incomplete for this book, so let me fill you in: This is a novel in stories centering around the character of Karom, who has experienced severe personal losses and survived a number of "near-death" experiences. With each
The book was about Karom Seth and his feelings of guilt because he had just missed being in the towers on 9/11 and he was not with his family when they were all killed in the tsunami in 2004. His girlfriend Gita isn't sure how to help him find peace in his life so she takes him to India to visit her family. The story had a good idea behind it but I found it very confusing because it was told by different characters during different time periods and it was difficult to follow. I will read this au ...more
Priya Upasani
Jun 11, 2014 Priya Upasani rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who enjoys fiction
i love how the character stories gently unfold as you move through the chapters, how with each turn of the page you learn about each characters' motivations and idiosyncracies. The themes of this book are relatable to all - love and loss and finding yourself after tragedy. I particularly enjoyed the author's portrayal of these themes set against the tragedies of Bhopal in 1984, 9/11 and the SouthEast Asian tsunami of 2004... and in reading the discussion guide at the end, was impressed to note t ...more
I usually don't read books with India as a setting or heritage but this one is pretty good. It's written from the male point of view and I found it different and interesting. Karom feels his life is cursed. He should have been at the World Trade Center on September 11th, He should have been at a beach in India for a tsunami that killed his entire family. His girlfriend, Gita, and he return to India to visit Gita's grandmother who might have the insight to help him put his life into perspective. ...more
This wasn't what I expected from the description, and while it didn't quite blow me away, I was pleasantly surprised, particularly by the writing and imagery. I didn't really have a problem with the back and forth in time, and though it did jump around a lot, I liked the way that several characters' stories were unraveled piece by piece. I'm not sure I feel completely satisfied with how it all came together, but I enjoyed the journeys they all seemed to travel, literally and otherwise, and I fou ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Mandi added it
"As a reader I was grabbed by 'Where Earth Meets Water' in the first paragraphs. Padukone writes with colour, melody, vibrations and deeply exposed emotions. Many sections of the book are pure prose. We, the reader, are where the characters are, at any given moment. On occasions I found myself holding my breath, unable to turn pages fast enough. At other times I was wary moving on, scared to travel with a character on the path they had chosen." Read the full review: http://blog.thatbookyoulike.c ...more
An episodic book in which each character has a chapter devoted to their perspective. At a couple points I asked myself - Where is the author going with all this but in the end she ties things together nicely. The central character Karom suffers from survivor's guilt because he should have been killed at the two towers on 9/11 and also at a location he believes his family is killed by a tidal wave in 2004. The central focal point of the book is about his coming to grips with his troubling past a ...more
We follow the lives of several people in this novel, however, they are all connected to Karom in some way. He is in his thirties and is dating Gita and they seem to be at a point in their relationship where she is not sure where they are going to go from here because of the demons in Karom's past.

Karom suffers from night terrors, which he seems to be oblivious to when they are happening, and Gita is trying to get him to work through them, however, he is too set in his ways to seek any kind of pr
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Book Description:

“In this poignant and breathtaking debut, one man searches for meaning in the wake of incomparable tragedy…

Karom Seth should have been in the Twin Towers on the morning of 9/11, and on the Indian shores in 2004, when the tsunami swept his entire family into the ocean. Whether it's a curse or a blessing, Karom can't be sure, but his absence from these disasters has left him with crushing guilt—and a belief that fate has singled him out for invincibility.

Karom's affliction consum
...I won this book from Goodreads.
Karom had escaped death, the Bhopal disaster, the tsunami, 9/11, - and now he is one mixed up dude. He looks for meaning. His poor girlfriend, Gita, worries too much over his risk taking & his moodiness.
Chapters are written about other characters. Theses are each fantastic characters, intricately drawn & intimately linked.
Unfortunately, I could find nothing to identify with, relate to. or learn from, but perhaps others will......
Janet Rundquist
I feel like the back of the book description of this one doesn't quite fit - but I really enjoyed this story about a young man's recovery from basically losing 2 families to 2 different disasters (9/11 is not one of them; I'm not sure why that is mentioned in the summary) and feeling the shadow of luck follow him. The novel is told through multiple perspectives of those close to him creating an emotional bond not only to Karom, the focal point, but of his support team.
Peter Giorno
I won my copy of Where Earth Meets Water from It took awhile for me to get into the book, maybe because of all the jumping around the main character goes through, and even then I wasn't too really sure if going back and forth in time was really necessary to get any sort of message across. The story was good, but it wasn't my cup of tea.
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Pia Padukone was born, raised and continues to live in New York City. A graduate of Stuyvesant High School and the London School of Economics, Pia has worked as a copywriter in healthcare advertising. In their spare time, Pia and her husband write Two Admirable Pleasures (, a blog that combines their shared passions for books and the culinary dishes that are inspi ...more
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