Miss New India
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Miss New India

2.92 of 5 stars 2.92  ·  rating details  ·  895 ratings  ·  224 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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Lisa Sansone
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...more
Frances Greenslade
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
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...more
Rachel
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...more
Brigdh
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...more
Phredric
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...more
Cleokatra
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...more
Sara
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
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Stifled by tradition and expectation, nineteen year old Anjali accepts the help of an unconventional professor to escape an arranged marriage and her small town of Gauripaur in rural India. She dreams of a new life in Bangalore, perhaps with a successful career or a Bollywood style romance but the reality is not what she expects. Boarding in a crumbling mansion, Angali's megawatt smile and passable American English do not provide the advantages she has hoped. Painfully naive, she falls victim to...more
Heidi
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
Beth
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
Kiwiflora
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
Rosemary
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
Genevieve
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
Robyn
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...more
Catherine Siemann
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
Karlan
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
Mosmi
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
Jeannine
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.
Lester
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
Melinda
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
Helen
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!
Doret
19 yr old Anjali Bose lives is Gauripaur. Her future is already preset. Anjali father is searching for her future husband. Anjali doesn't want to get married early or have her husband selected. She's also very smart, though living in a small town and being a woman she can't be too smart. Angjali is too big for Gauripaur but she doesn't know how to get out.

Peter Champion a former teacher encourages Anjali to leave and make a life for herself in Bangalore. After an awful encounter with the chosen...more
Bette
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
A very interesting book, although I'd love to talk to an Indian woman who has read it to get her perspective. Anjali Bose, a young Bengali woman with good Engish skills runs away from her parents' home in a small town to Bangalore, where she expects to begin a new, modern life working in an out-sourcing call center. I found the mix of tradition, arranged marriages, the after-effects of divorce, the limited options for a woman, the need for a woman to protect her reputation in a small town to be...more
ChiTownLizard
Mukherjee is a good writer. I enjoyed reading this book for the cultural context, and somewhat for the plot. The clash between old and new India is fascinating. However, I kept waiting to like Anjali, the main character...and I just never could. I felt empathy for her situation--especially at the beginning during her encounter with a potential husband (I won't reveal details at the risk of spoiling it). But...that was about it.

*sigh*

All of the people who believe in Anjali and keep talking about...more
Donna Desroches
This was the book that mom and l listened to to as we drove down the Alaska Highway. I found it an intriguing read as I struggled to identify with the main character, 19 year old Anjali. She is alternately strong and admirable and naive and immature. She overcomes several obstacles (including rape and prison) on the way to achieving her dream of working in a call centre in Bangalore but she is also portrayed as self-centred, lacking in curiosity about the world around her, and dependent on other...more
Amy
India is on fire, Anjali keeps hearing, and if she gets married off, she’ll miss it. She’s young, and her inner conflicts and contradictory impulses are believable. I cheered for her the whole way through. The plot is very familiar, very 19th century. Maybe there are only a certain number of ways for an author to get a sheltered but spirited young woman onto a path of independence. Or maybe Mukherjee deliberately wanted to echo the growing pains of other eras.

The writing is mostly light, simple...more
Beth
I'm in a script club (like book club, but for the theater).
The script was not available for "Disconnect", a play about lives of call center employees so we read this book instead. I enjoyed most of the book. The ending is awkward and for me it was unsatisfying.

This is two books mashed together. One is the story of Anjali/Angie/Anjolie our fantastical Bollywood Cinderella. She is alternately confident and unable to cope, makes poor choices without knowing the consequences (like every young adul...more
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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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