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If Today Be Sweet

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,459 ratings  ·  210 reviews
Tehmina Sethna's beloved husband has died this past year and she is visiting her son, Sorab, in his suburban Ohio home. Now Tehmina is being asked to choose between her old, familiar life in India and a new one in Ohio with her son, his American wife, and their child. She must decide whether to leave the comforting landscape of her native India for the strange rituals of l ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by William Morrow (first published 2007)
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The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best South Asian Fiction
103rd out of 443 books — 1,327 voters
The Immigrant and the Golden Coin by Dorothy May MercerThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa LahiriUnaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa LahiriThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Immigrant Voices - Fiction
62nd out of 202 books — 145 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,509)
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Susan
This was a kind of silly book in many ways. There were some things that were interesting, but it wasn't nearly as good as The Space Between Us. Tehmina is a 66 year old widow who has come from Bombay to stay with her son and American daughter-in-law while trying to decide where to spend the rest of her life: in America with them or back in Bombay. There's a lot of agonizing over this decision by all parties. Then there's a sub-plot in involving an abusive mother living next door. The way this pl ...more
Erica
I really enjoyed this book. Great infomation about Indian culture.

In Umrigar's tender fourth novel, Tehmina "Tammy" Sethna is torn between two cultures that couldn't be more different: Bombay and Cleveland. The former is her homeland, but after her husband's recent death, she's been staying with her son and his family in America. Tehmina loves being near grandson Cookie, but she often feels like an intruder in her American daughter-in-law's home, and she's disconcerted by the changes in her son,
...more
Susan de la Vergne
It's a sweet story, about a recently widowed woman from Bombay who tries to decide whether to move to suburban Ohio to live with family. But she spends the entire book deciding. Fortunately, she's an interesting character, but often annoying because she's indecisive. Finally something happens (she rescues two children) and gets off the fence, literally: Her deciding moment comes as she's climbing a fence, trying to decide on which side to jump down. Too literal a metaphor for me. But the charact ...more
Shelley
I would give this novel a 2-1/2 star if I could. It wasn't the best writing and it did go on and on quite a bit about some things and it was quite predictable as well, but it's not too often that I find myself wanting to laugh out loud as I did in this story as it was just too cute to hold back. It's about a 66 year old Parsi woman who can't make up her mind where to live as her beloved husband, Rustom, passed away the year before. She has to choose whether to live in Ohio with her son, Sorab, a ...more
June
This is the 3rd Umrigar book I have read and my second favorite. I still believe "The Space between Us" is by far her best book so far. I am not sure if it was true in "The Space..." as well, but I find that Umrigar goes into such long episodes of characters' thoughts that it is disorienting once she comes back to the scene. This was more so a problem in Bombay Time (when there were many more characters) but it happens quite often in this novel as well. But this book succeeds in its wonderful an ...more
Sarah
This is an incredibly sweet-natured and even corny book, and I enjoyed it despite the stereotyped characters and occasionally wooden writing and imagery. Umrigar is writing about an older Parsi woman who comes to the USA to stay with her son and daughter-in-law after her beloved husband dies. She must decide whether to move to the US, or return to her life in Bombay. The whole book involves her sitting "on the fence," including a literal fence-sitting scene. But I enjoyed the details about India ...more
Susmita Bhattacharya
A beautiful book. Poignant, heart-wrenching, humourous and poetic. Thrity Umrigar at her best.
Ellen
Enjoyable, but not as good as either The Space Between Us or The World We Found. A bit fairy-tale-esque in a way, what with Jerome and Josh getting a wonderful new chance with their loving aunt in the countryside. A lot of things were squeezed into the final chapter; certain things, such as Rustom's Omar Khayyam messages, could've been a continuing occurrence throughout. The dialogue was weaker than I've come to expect from Umrigar, though certain characters (Grace) were characterized quite well ...more
Marcy
Tehmina was in deep despair after her husband died. They were quite the lovable couple. They were both caring enough to take in another child, (they already had a son named Sorab), into their home when his beloved mom died, and his alcoholic father could not adequately take care of him. Both of Sorab's parents saw the loss of their son to America, but they were happy he was happy married to a white American woman who loved him and bore their son. Tehmina and her husband lived in Mumbai, but visi ...more
Mom
I absolutely adored The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar and so was eager to read If Today Be Sweet. The plot concerns a recently widowed Indian woman who comes to visit her son in America and is invited to stay and settle here. She is conflicted, as her home of Bombay holds all her memories of her husband and family, holds all her friends, all her "colorful, busy, active, people-filled life." Staying with her son and his family means moving into a suburban house "as sealed and silent as a tom ...more
Sara
Tehmina is newly widowed and unsure of what to do with her life. Should she stay in Bombay, where everything is familiar and reminders of her husband are around every corner, or should she move into her son's home in suburban Cleveland as he desires, though it is clear that she is a burden to his wife? During the course of a 6 month stay with her son, she begins to see the world in a new light and emotionally bonds with the two neglected boys next door. But is that enough to help make Tammy, as ...more
Hillary
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Vionna
A widow from Bombay has difficulties in adjusting to life in America living with her son, daughter-in-law and grandson. It’s a well written book exploring the adjustments that need to be made when starting a new life in such a diverse country as the US.
Susan
When Tehmina's husband dies, she moves to the United States to be with her son, his white American wife, and their child. Faced with a new location and culture in sharp contrast to that of India, she must decide whether to stay in America with family or to return to her native country. The author is a wonderful writer, and her vivid descriptions of the contrasting customs allowed me to visualize life elsewhere. Umrigar's characters are well-drawn, feel real, and I cared about each of them. Basic ...more
Marilyn
Have just fallen head over heals with Thrity Umrigar's novels; call them Hinglish if you will, but, nonetheless I love them. Tehmina Sethna is newly widowed & is visiting her son, daughter-in-law & grandson in the US & trying to decide if she is to move to the US or remain in her beloved India. The two cultures collide--that of tradition and the new world, old friends vs family, old age with family or with familiarity. Age old questions with no ready answers. Just a wonderful read. T ...more
Kris
3 STARS

"Tehmina Sethna's beloved husband has died this past year and she is visiting her son, Sorab, in his suburban Ohio home. Now Tehmina is being asked to choose between her old, familiar life in India and a new one in Ohio with her son, his American wife, and their child. She must decide whether to leave the comforting landscape of her native India for the strange rituals of life in a new country.

This is a journey Tehmina, a middle-aged Parsi woman, must travel alone.

The Parsis were let into
...more
Irene Gonzales
I loved this funny and sad story. I am a Hospice Volunteer so I hear a lot of stories of elderly people who feel they no longer have a place in their children's lives. The difference in cultures makes it difficult too. I strongly recommend this book to anybody who lives or is planning to live with an in-law, please be kind and understanding, remember we all get older, if you listen we have a lot to learn from the elderly, just open your ears and heart. Everybody has a story to tell so listen and ...more
Kieran Walsh
A really good book though not as emotionally developed as The Space Between Us. Clearly Umrigar understands the nuances of emigration (the pull from home), the intensity of a new environment and the heartbreak of indecision (for those with the luxury of choice). Tehmina's new life isnt as predictable as might be expeted. She's recently widowed, so clearly bereaved and deals with a myriad of cultural anamolies that are mostly beyond her reach yet accutely within her comprehension. Her son has his ...more
Julia
This is my 4th Umrigar novel and I have loved each one, until this one. It just seemed rather silly. Before I was even half way through, I began to get irritated with all the bashing of American culture and life. It just got so tiring.

The story is of an Indian woman, Tehmina, recently widowed who goes to Ohio for a visit with her son and his wife and their young son. They have extended an invitation to Tehmina to move from India to Ohio with them permanently, since the death of her husband.

So, t
...more
Shakirah
When I first read The Space Between Us by Umrigar, I was so mesmerised by her authorship that I was googling to find if she has any other published books. I was disappointed, then. That must have been about 2 years ago. A few days back when I was googling again to satisfy my craving for a shot of good literary work, I was elated to find quite a number of books by her and decided to take a trip to the bookstore to get this one. It is not as fast a read as the Space but as poignant and evocative a ...more
Pamela Pickering
Apparently I have chosen the wrong book of this author to explore. Why did I abandon this book? My top reasons: 1)after 3 chapters I found the writing to be incredibly cheesy . It almost seemed as if it was written by a junior high kid. Of course, I'm not a fabulous writer either but it is not my profession. 2) Please remember I've only read 3 chapters in this book when I say this and things might change later in the story. The writer points out what is "wrong" with every American character that ...more
Lisa
This book took off a bit slowly for me and then picked up a lot at the end. So, if you are planning to read it, or are reading it, don't give up. It gets better as you turn the pages!!

This is a story about a new widow, who has recently lost her husband and sole mate, Rustom. Tehmina Sethna is from Bomboy and visiting her son Sorab in Ohio. Though she has been to visit her son, his American wife, and grandson Cookie before, it is the first time she has been there without Rustom who always seemed
...more
Louise
Another astounding and deeply tender novel from Ms. Umrigar that teaches and tells us about the slow pace, wonderful sights and sounds of India and how to take life as it comes.

Tehmina is a widow from India who has come to America to visit with her son Sorab, a 38-year-old with an American wife named Susan and one son, Cookie. Sorab had left his native India to pursue an education in the United States and never left after he graduated. Tehmina is devastated and lost without her beloved husband R
...more
Sarah
Feb 21, 2010 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it did not hit so close to my own experiences.

Tehmina recently lost her husband and moves to the US to live with her son, his American wife, and their son. The whole book centers around her experience of loss, change, America, and whether or not she will stay in America with her son. What I enjoyed about the book was how detailed Umrigar's depiction of the characters and their emotions was. For example, she goes into great detail about how hurt she
...more
Candice
Mar 30, 2011 Candice rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grandparents, people who like stories about immigrants
I have been a fan of Thrity Umrigar since I read The Space between Us. Here is another excellent book by a talented author. Tehmina’s beloved husband, Rustom, had just died and the Mumbai native is living in Cleveland with her son and his American wife and son. She knows she must decide whether she will continue to live in America or return to her native India, and it’s not an easy task. As she weighs the pros and cons of life in these two very different parts of the world, we wonder what we wou ...more
Laura Avellaneda-Cruz
This book was about themes that matter and that I am glad to see someone so insightful explore in literature: the way culture and capitalism and urban planning in the US affect people's behaviors and ways of being, some of the beauty of cultures and places that exist despite problems, the importance of speaking up when children and others are being mistreated, etc. However, the writing was so underwhelming and at times unbelievable that it wasn't that fun to get through. It's too bad, because I ...more
Pat
I have read books by this author and have liked them for the most part. She has great character development and the relationships feel real, however, this book dragged to much for me. There were many times where nothing really happened and I felt myself waiting for more to the story. It was about one woman after having lost her husband, trying to cope with coming to America and living with her son and his family. I can imagine her struggle as that's a lot to come to terms with all at once. She f ...more
Georgiana
Thrity Umrigar has the ability to evoke the most deep-seated emotions in her readers as she relates the internal struggles, wistful melancholy and unexpected joys of recently widowed Themina, who wrestles with the decision to return by herself to what she has always known in India, or leave behind her beloved Bombay and start a new life in America with her only son, his American wife and their child. Anyone who has ever set down roots in another culture will relate deeply to Themina's conflict a ...more
Katie
Another engaging look at the culture clash between India and America by Thrity Umrigar. This story involved an Indian mother who must decide whether or not to move to America (from Bombay) to live with her adult son, his wife, and their child after her husband dies. The whole book examines the good, the bad, and the ugly of both suburban America and India. I love the perspective on this that Umrigar brings--I get the benefit of understanding more about India, while enjoying a fresh take on the i ...more
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A journalist for seventeen years, Thrity Umrigar has written for the Washington Post, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and other national newspapers, and contributes regularly to the Boston Globe's book pages. She teaches creative writing and literature at Case Western Reserve University. The author of The Space Between Us, Bombay Time, and the memoir First Darling of the Morning: Selected Memories of ...more
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The Space Between Us The World We Found The Weight of Heaven The Story Hour Bombay Time

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