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Miss New India

2.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,105 Ratings  ·  252 Reviews
Anjali Bose’s prospects don’t look great. Born into a traditional lower-middle‑class family, she lives in a backwater town with only an arranged marriage on the horizon. But her ambition, charm, and fluency in language do not go unnoticed by her charismatic and influential expat teacher Peter Champion. And champion her he does, both to powerful people who can help her alon ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,223)
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Lisa Sansone
Sep 28, 2011 Lisa Sansone rated it liked it
Random thoughts:

- It was kind of light, and easy to read, which I appreciated. The writer writes, for the most part, with an engaging touch. In a way, it's kind of a "pop" novel that deals with real, interesting themes.

- Conversely, though it deals with fairly serious, "large" themes (especially the tensions between old and new in a rapidly changing India), I'm not sure it qualifies as "great literature". In fact, it was the author's attempts at "great literature" that made it ultimately fall a
Robert E.  Kennedy Library
I wanted to like this book better than I did: it started out strong, with a young Indian woman from a mofussil (provincial) town on the brink of deciding to flee an impending marriage arranged by her family. An American teacher takes an interest and offers to help her go to Bangalore instead and make her own way in the world.

Once Anjali arrives in Bangalore, though, the story fell apart for me. While it dealt with interesting topics -- Indians immersing themselves in American culture in training
Frances Greenslade
Feb 09, 2012 Frances Greenslade rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I may have been influenced by the fact that I was in Bangalore when I read it. For me, it captured the paradox of that city and of India in general: cows grazing on garbage beneath billboards advertising Tag Heuer Swiss watches; women in saris riding sidesaddle on the back of husbands' and sons' motorcycles, and women in jeans and helmets riding their own; chai wallahs and Barista cafes. Anjali, the protagonist, is convincing as a young woman who has escaped the traditional ex ...more
Jul 15, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Nineteen year old Anjali Bose lives with her lower middle class family in a small village in India. Her father's dream is to arrange a marriage for her with a suitable boy but Anjali has bigger dreams than that. With the help of her English teacher, Anjali moves to Bangalore with the hopes of becoming a customer support specialist at a call center. She quickly learns that big-city life is not as easy and carefree as she thought it would be.

Anjali was a hard character to like. She floats through
Mar 06, 2011 Patty rated it really liked it
Anjali Bose is a small town girl in rural India who has big dreams. Her teacher, an ex-pat American, encourages her to make something of herself by heading to Bangalore, which they both see as the best new city in India. Anjali eventually heads there, and ends up in more trouble than she anticipated.

The writing in this novel is quite good, very poetic, in the first few chapters, but gradually heads downhill and becomes very pedestrian by the end. The problem, I think, is that there is just way t
Jul 20, 2011 Phredric rated it it was ok
I went to a reading by Bharati Mukherjee at which she ready the opening chapter of this and liked it enough to try the book. It didn't live up to the promise.

Part One (which ends with Anjali leaving Gauripur) was good but then things go a bit awry. Mukherjee crams as much as such can into the story - arranged marriages, rape, transvestites, gays, ex-pats, meditations on light and photography, call centres, terrorism and more - but the overall impact is that it all runs together and nothing much
Aug 17, 2011 Cleokatra rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I really enjoyed the social commentary and learning about Indian culture. However, the overall storyline was a little weird. It kind of reminded me of Bridget Jones and I do not mean that in a good way. The main character gets herself into various predicaments and then some man comes riding to the rescue. It just seemed a little facile. Rather than dealing with a difficult narrative, just invoke Prince Charming.

However, it was an easy read, it was a fas
Jun 25, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would - yes, the characters have no emotional depth, BUT the plot moves along so quickly that I couldn't put it down. It is the (fictional) story of a young Indian woman who leaves her backwater town to escape an arranged marriage and ends up in Bangalore trying to get a job at a call center. As one of the Americans on the other end of the phone line I found this part to be the most interesting in the book. The training these people receive: practi ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2011
I picked up this book after reading the starred review in Booklist. Sadly the book did not live up to that review, at least for me. Anjali (Angie) leaves her home and upcoming arranged marriage for the city of Bangalore, home to call centers looking for workers. Anjali finds a housing arrangement due to contacts of her expatriate teacher, a writer held in some esteem in India. She lives off the teacher's monetary gift and when she finally seeks employment at a company the teacher had introduced ...more
Jul 18, 2011 Beth rated it liked it
Miss New India is a novel whose intent seems clear – the dissolution of traditional India via a social revolution steeped in the “benefits” of materialism. It is the new India, a feminine universe, whoring herself out to the westernized world; namely the USA. In this regard, India is young and naive, like the protagonist, Anjali. India has not yet matured from her experience. It is adolescent growth in progress - the outcome yet unknown. Like Anjali, it is still being invented. India’s purpose i ...more
Feb 23, 2012 Kiwiflora rated it it was ok
All those off shore call centres - don't we just love to hate them and for all sorts of reasons. But probably what is the most annoying thing is they claim to be speaking to you from your home town and you just know that aint so. And do we ever think about the person behind the voice so desperately trying to sound Kiwi, American, English, Australian? Not really, because we just know that the voice is just another Indian voice out of probably a million voices in that vast land mass working in a c ...more
Mar 15, 2012 Rosemary rated it liked it
Interesting story of the emerging women of India,although not very likeable, Anjali Bose is the author's view of the new Miss India. Angie has been brought up to expect a successful arranged marriage, despite her sister's disastrous example. Growing up in a small town, she nevertheless catches the interest of an expat teacher who sees potential in her. From the description, I just see a spoiled brat who expects Prince Charming, selected by her father, to sweep her off her feet to riches and glor ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Marie rated it it was ok

I picked this up at the library, intrigued by the premise and undeterred by the lukewarm (and sometimes outright negative) reviews on Goodreads. A novel about Bangalore, call centers, and the new Indian woman? Sure--sounds promising. I've read other Mukherjee novels and liked them, so I thought this was worth a try.

Sadly, this was not a winner. The main character, Anjali, is not likable and she's completely shallow...which I could live with, perhaps, if I
Jan 22, 2012 Genevieve rated it it was ok
2.5 stars if Goodreads allowed halves. I was really intrigued to learn about a young Indian woman's journey from bucking the chauvinist old school society where her father was to choose her husband from newspaper ads to a new independent life in Bangalore where the "new India" is emerging and giving women a chance to choose their own destiny. But ultimately I really struggled to identify with Anjali. I think she was supposed to come across as a Bridget Jones type character, someone a bit silly b ...more
Sep 06, 2011 Robyn rated it it was ok
Some things work really well in this novel; for instance, the author does a great job of depicting the internal conflict of modern-day India, with revered rituals and traditions on the one hand, and technology/modernity on the other. Anjali, the main character, represents the generation caught in between these two poles of identity--modern vs. traditional.

Unfortunately, the character of Anjali is also where the novel breaks down. She is continually influenced by other people. She thinks she kno
Catherine Siemann
Jul 10, 2011 Catherine Siemann rated it liked it
The story of Anjali Bose, a young woman escaping her backwater town and the future her parents plan for her, Miss New India has a lot to say about the new economy of India and the impact it's having on society, as she moves to Bangalore in search of a brighter future. It was an absorbing, engaging read, but Anjali is so naive that it's hard to understand why her American teacher, and subsequent potential mentors, see her as potentially extraordinary. Because the third-person narrative is very mu ...more
Sep 24, 2011 Karlan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, older-ya
I've wondered about those who answer phone calls in Indian service centers. How do they do it? This is the story of a young woman who leaves her family to escape an awful arranged marriage and goes to Bangalore at her English teacher's suggestion. He helps her with letters of introduction and a new life begins. Some scenes are tough and upsetting but vivid and believable. The author's ability to convey the thoughts of Anjolie as she struggles to appear mature and succeed in a difficult situatio ...more
Jul 14, 2015 Jill rated it it was ok
Unlikeable protagonist, messy writing, characters left hanging in the ether. Spoiler alert: in this book, the Muslim is a terrorist and the Sindhis are shady businesspeople, so there's the overt prejudice too.

On a happier note, I think I would like to visit Bangalore.
Nov 01, 2011 Mosmi rated it liked it
In this book Miss New India author basically takes you on the trip through the life of a19yr old girl. The book is fun because the main character Anjali is pretty charismatic playful and very descriptive - kinda takes you there. The story starts of as the typical scenario, Anjali who is about to be married of to the perfect boy but she wants more out of her life then to be housewife in some remote town. As the pressure from continues, she find a friend and support in a professor, who motivates h ...more
Dec 07, 2014 Susan rated it it was ok
One other reviewer/poster described the main character as a ninny. I kept thinking that she was a twit. Same thing.

I certainly sped-read through this from about the half-way point on, just to see how the story was going to unfold.

What I did find interesting and provocative was the description of the outsourcing dynamic and the societal upheavals as a result of this. Such a great background for a story. There is so much there that the author had to work with.

But the character development and p
Oct 23, 2014 Peggy rated it liked it
I finished the book just as I met a friend of my daughter who had studied at university in India. "I love Bangalore," she said and because of Miss New India we were able to discuss India as though I'd visited. I passed the book along to her and wonder what her impressions will be as a young woman similar to Angie, in her case a young Russian woman on her one-way stops to adulthood. Bangalore was as fascinating a subject as the heroine, although both are equally frustrating. There were almost too ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Jeannine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally picked up this book to read because my daughter was about to embark on a month-long trip through India and I thought it help me learn a bit about the country and its culture. It didn't disappoint! This book was a great read - likeable characters, vivid descriptions, and gives the reader a look at the part of India where changes are either happening,or at least the hope of change is happening.
Jul 02, 2014 Lester rated it liked it
I rather liked this story of the country girl deciding that village life and arranged marriages are not for her, and then deciding to move to Bangalore, where life is a lot better. Despite the predictability of this first person narrative for most of the book, I was rather taken by the depiction of life in Bangalore as a call-agent. Mukherjee nicely brings out the contrasts between India's new elite and the 'old India' of the Raj. But more poignantly, brings out how new India tends to follow mat ...more
Sophie Zapoli
Actually 2.5. I thought that Miss New India was a great perspective into the issues that modern India is experiencing and does a great job putting a face onto the joke "Calling India". You really don't think about how hard they try to sound American as well as all their struggles and sacrifices to get that job when you hear them pick up on the phone. I really wanted to like this book but I found it boring and contained pages of useless information. While I liked Angie in the beginning once she w ...more
May 09, 2016 Amelia rated it did not like it
I loathed this book. It's going to be impossible for me to list all of the things I hated about this book. Also there are SPOILERS. And trigger warning for some upsetting things. Um, but at the end, I make some points about diversity?

But let's start with the character. Anjali? I completely admit to having a total lack of empathy, because I spent most of the book wanting to hit her. I think maybe this was down to bad writing/characterization- I hope this was bad writing, because Anjali had little
Gabriella D Mont
Sep 09, 2014 Gabriella D Mont rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this. It gave a very interesting window into some of the changes going on in India. I found the juxtaposition of the "New India" with the technology and outsourced jobs striking against the continued assaults onto the women (in cars, on the bus, in public areas) that were simply considered "normal" or even the fault of the girls themselves. (I held my breath when our heroine was on the bus, thinking the worst.) I did feel that the heroine was a little lacking. We are told from the begi ...more
Dec 18, 2015 Shelly rated it did not like it
DNF. I really wanted to like this book. It had such an interesting premise, I liked learning about India, and the first part of the book was good. Unfortunately, just as the book should have gotten even better, it just stagnated. The book is divided into parts. Part 2 was boring. Nothing happened for many pages. I still continued anyway, hoping the third section would be better. It was more interesting, in that stuff happened, but it was really unbelievable and just weird things that happen. I s ...more
May 12, 2014 Melinda rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Mukherjee's Miss New India is a story of a young girl and her country both coming of age. It is a dichotomy - old/new, dedication to family/self, tradition/modern. Anjali Bose (Angie) the central character, tries to define her essence without too much compromise, how to combine both tradition and modern desires. All these issues facing both young woman and country. Mukherjee is the supreme mistress of stories focusing on finding a way to blend tradition and modern changes specifically centered a ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Helen rated it did not like it
Shelves: cultural
Skipped many pages to try to finish this book! At the end of the book, I was left clueless to what it was all about!
Jun 21, 2015 Fnouristani rated it liked it
May contain spoiler alerts

This book could've been so much better...First the main character is an average girl from the middle of nowhere but there is something about her that fascinates everyone where they find her irresistible-- this I expect from the author of the Twilight books not from Mukherjee...she touches on topics that are so interesting such as the old Indian traditions vs. the modern influences, the role of the British, and what a big city in India is like now, but she is so superfic
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Bharati Mukherjee is an award-winning Indian born American writer. She is currently a professor in the department of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

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