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The Immigrant

3.12 of 5 stars 3.12  ·  rating details  ·  437 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Nina is a thirty-year-old English lecturer in New Delhi, living with her widowed mother and struggling to make ends meet. Ananda has recently emigrated to Halifax, Canada; having spent his twenties painstakingly building his career, he searches for something to complete his new life.
Paperback, 331 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Faber & Faber (first published 2008)
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Maia
I was (pleasantly) surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, which I picked up in a hurry on my way to a 5-day holiday (not much in English to choose from in Frankfurt!) mostly by the title & blurb. It is the deceptively simply told story of Nina, a bright, apparently attractive 30-year-old 'spinster' (by current Indian standards) whose widowed mother is desperate she marry and reverse the bad times they've fallen on since the brilliant and charming (though he left them destitute) father/hu...more
Dabarai
The Immigrant by Manju Kapur is a book of multiple layers: the story of arranged marriage of Nina and Ananda is only the opportunity to discuss the wide range of other issues: marital relationship, adultery, differences between Eastern and Western culture, life of an immigrant...
I've found the beginning of this book a bit of a struggle, I wasn't sure I liked the style it was written – it seemed a bit uneven and too jumpy. However, somewhere in the middle it all came alive to me. I've started to...more
Phredric
I read this on the strength of Difficult Daughters, but this book is so different that it seems to have been written by another person.

It's a real mish-mash of issues: arranged marriages, late arranged marriages, genteel povery in India, politics, immigrant integration, premature ejaculation, rape, extra-marital affairs, overseas qualifications etc etc.

Both Ananda and Nina reveal themselves to be unpleasant individuals, too concerned with themselves and their egos. There a whole of lot of expo...more
Brigdh
A novel about an arranged marriage (eh, that's not really the right term, because I'd just call it "an introduction was arranged by an intermediary, the marriage didn't take place until over a year later after dating" but all of the characters insist on calling it arranged, so whatever) between an Indian woman and an Indian man who had previously immigrated to Canada. Ugh, this book was terrible. The marriage (shockingly, because novels about marriages so often focus on happy relationships) doe...more
Smita
I have really enjoyed all the earlier books by Manju Kapur - Home, Difficult Daughters, A Married Woman. But The Immigrant was quite a dampner. The story was just not strong enough for me. I think Kapur should stick to stories set in India rather than explore the immigrant life as many others have done earlier. She is best at telling stories set in India - she brings to life the realities of India like none others.
Biogeek
I have enjoyed all of Manju Kapur's previous books, but was disappointed by this one. Maybe it was because I am not particularly interested in the middle-class immigrant story, or because I was put off by what seemed gratuitously graphic scenes. Either way, this book did not hold my attention.
Susana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Lee
I picked this book up at the airport in Mumbai, hoping that a novel about Indian characters written by an Indian author would shed a little cultural light for me. It didn't. The characters, storyline, and extremely dry prose were all very uninspired.

Much of the novel revolves around the husband's problem with premature ejaculation, which is an incredibly bizarre plot point to base a story around. I'm also puzzled by the author's decision to set this book in the 1970s for no apparent reason. She...more
Jessica
The Immigrant is a book about two people who don’t seem to fit into ‘normal’ Indian society but are somehow able to evolve more into their skin once they immigrate to Canada. Ananda trains abroad to become a dentist and then decides to take an Indian wife after assuming someone from ‘home’ will have lower expectations of him sexually-speaking. Nina is the 30-something still-on-the-shelf single Indian girl living at home with her widowed mother. When Ananda’s proposal comes her way, the relief of...more
Pushpam Singh
This novel really has layers of depth which often as reader I look for in a book. It takes a deep dive into the tussle and hussle between mind and heart, oneself and others, expectations and desires. It takes us through mind of an Indian Lady who often is expected to fulfill many roles and how she is caught as an immigrant in all new land of Canada after being married to a NRI.
Story has Ananda, who is dentist by profession and well settled in Canada and doing well. On the other hand we have Nin...more
PSmith
Sep 13, 2011 PSmith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mature readers who love psychology and Indian culture
I am impressed with Manju Kapur's ability to write scintillating books. This story dealt with a couple - Nina and Ananda - who got into an arranged marriage. Nina is a 30 year old lady who is in poor circumstances with a widowed mother and a lectureship residing in a small house in Delhi. Her mother is constantly worried about getting her married, and they get a proposal which is too good to reject - an orphaned dentist from Canada who is just 2 years her senior and who doesnot expect any moneta...more
Baljit
kapur manages to capture the issues that plague the subject and also common to most immigrants. the feelings of isolation, alienation, of being viewed as a 'exotic object' , yet the disconnectedness of new friends. Nina has to deal with her feelings and is further confused by the sentiments of her new husband who is dealing with his own insecurities. He is shedding his former 'Indian self" and embracing all things Canadian, and in the process refuses to share Nina's sentiments and views. Can one...more
Preeti
The Immigrant (2008) deals with woes of Nina, who struggles to establish her identity in a distant land (Canada- in this case) despite all the adversities pitted against her. Her education qualifications aren’t recognized and deemed fit to be able to find her a job of a college lecturer that she left back in India.
The sense of displacement while trying to adjust in a foreign country and her attempts to embrace the alien land with friendliness by enrolling herself into a degree in librarianship...more
Jo at Jaffareadstoo
When thirty year old Nina agrees to an arranged marriage with Ananda, not only does she have to leave behind her home, friends and family, but also her way of life, as she moves from 1970’s New Delhi to Canada, to set up home with her new husband. The story takes us on a fascinating journey of discovery as Nina tries to adapt, not just to a new way of life but also to a relationship that appears to be lacking elements of intimacy. As Nina struggles to become accustomed to this new lifestyle, he...more
Nitya Sivasubramanian
I grabbed this book off my mother's shelf because of how strongly I empathized with the main character described on the back blurb. After all, Nina is a smart well-read young woman who is told repeatedly how close she is to the end of her "marriageable girl" shelf life. Unfortunately, as I began to learn more about Nina's life, especially after her marriage, I realized how little I cared for a woman without the self-confidence and independence to deal with the struggles of settling into a brand...more
Indiabookstore
Edgy and having a real perspective, Manju Kapur pulls off a queer combination of complexities of an immigrant and sexual deprivation and desire, however, with flaws. Nevertheless, the saga is successful in projecting the contours of female sexuality and is able to highlight the blank points of an arranged marriage. Read more: http://www.indiabookstore.net/bookish...
Michael
I read this all the way to end but I'm not sure why. It was an easy read. I can see why it was chosen as a Library reading group book - it had someone learning how to be a librarian as one of the main characters. I imagine it would appeal to women more than to men, but to me it was just a long-winded Mills & Boon (and they are mercifully brief) but with a less satisfying ending. I think what kept me reading was a fascination with the descriptions of life in India just a few decades ago. Fasc...more
Smitha
One of the few books in recent times that actually depressed me. This book just didn't work for me. It felt as if the author just crammed a lot of things to make it interesting, but something definitely got lost in the process. Again this isn't the first of Kapur's book that left me disappointed, so I should bear that in mind the next time I get tempted to pick up a book by her.
Maya Panika
I would never have picked up this book on the strength of the blurb - an immigrant’s tale, story of a marriage - which made it sound dull as ditchwater, but I enjoyed it very much, because the book is both and nether of those things. It’s the story of Nina and her family, her life, her experiences of her adopted home and of her unfaithful husband. It’s not a *Big* story, just a slice of life, the events of any life – infertility, infidelity, death and friendships and uncertainty.

The style was o...more
Privy Trifles
This is one author I hugely admire for her knack of writing about Indian social systems, relationships and Indian families with such a beauty!

Commendable style of narration and what an amazing line of characters. She never ceases to amaze me with every book of hers that I read no doubt she is the one I highly recommend anytime someone wants to read a good Indian author writing on the great Indian Society.

As I was reading this it somehow managed to answer a lot of things for me though neither am...more
Msdot
"Perhaps that was the ultimate immigrant experience. Not that one thing was steady enough to attach yourself to for the rest of your life, but that you found different ways to belong, ways not necessarily lasting, but ones that made your journey less lonely for awhile. When something failed it was a signal to move on. For an immigrant, there was no going back.

The continent was full of people escaping unhappy past. She too was heading towards fresh territories, a different set of circumstances, a...more
Amruta Joshi
It is good book,which deals with many things related to late marriage,
how life is different from courtship to marriage life through Nina n Ananda's life.The Life of immigrant and pressure to adjust with new country and continuous to be part of new country 's life.
It also reflects constant fight between mind n heart.
It also deals with sex,affairs and as well as emotional bonding between main characters and their bonding with other characters
Along the with each change of season depicts the behavio...more
Judy Nesbit
Thought -provoking novel which examines the loneliness of an immigrant and the impact of the East-West cultural difference on one particular woman. Perhaps tries to include too many themes in the second half but a very enjoyable read.
Hager
A very good read!
Nicole
Although this book improved in the middle, and despite the multiple themes of (obviously) immigration, and also marriage and feminism I found this book never really got into its stride. Although there is unarguably a plot, which progresses, it still feels as though nothing much happens, and that there is no real climax. This book wasn't terrible, but I was relieved when I finished it so I could move onto something with more punch that I don't have to force myself to pick up and continue!
Saurabh Khetan
Author has depict feeling of women very nicely, what spinster goes through at age of 30, very well, and her fight for being independent that to in different country, what all are the feeling from which she is going while she remains in home all alone when her dentist husband goes to clinic for work, but at the end story become like every next novel, both the couple start to commit adultery. which upsets me little bite some how. but over all novel is worth reading.
Alexandra
At times in the descriptions of the main character I felt like I could relate to how alienated she felt being in a new country. I also enjoyed the description of how their perceptions change when going back 'home' to visit.
Other than that it was easy to read, interesting 'enough' but not all that astounding. I liked the fact that it wasn't cliche and gave an insight into arranged marriage that we never get not being from that culture.
Renu
I liked the first half of the book but second half just dragged on. I have loved Manju Kapur's Difficult Daughter - this one was major disappointment.
Loxi Lowndes
At first I really enjoyed the book, a woman's dilemma of independence or conforming to social pressure of marriage and children. This book then unexpectedly turned into a book obsessed with sex, premature ejaculation. although I understand that sex is part of marriage, I feel that the constant sex scenes added nothing to the story. I'm glad I finished the book as the last chapter is worth reading.
Margaret Allen
I found this a difficult book to read. Partly because some of the subject matter is uncomfortable, in particular the discounting of people according to their perceived status. Also, partly because I found both the main characters not really likeable in their opinions and actions. However, I do think I might reread this at some point. Tellingly, it hasn't already been dispatched to the charity shop.
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Manju Kapur is the author of four novels. Her first, Difficult Daughters, won the Commonwealth Prize for First Novels (Eurasia Section) and was a number one bestseller in India. Her second novel A Married Woman was called 'fluent and witty' in the Independent, while her third, Home, was described as 'glistening with detail and emotional acuity' in the Sunday Times. Her most recent novel, The Immig...more
More about Manju Kapur...
Difficult Daughters Custody Home A Married Woman Shaping the World: Women Writers on Themselves

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