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If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  517 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
In these eleven sharp, surprising stories, Neel Patel gives voice to our most deeply held stereotypes and then slowly undermines them. His characters, almost all of who are first-generation Indian Americans, subvert our expectations that they will sit quietly by. We meet two brothers caught in an elaborate web of envy and loathing; a young gay man who becomes involved with ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Flatiron Books
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Larry H
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Somewhere between 4.5 and 5 stars, rounding up.

With his debut story collection, If You See Me, Don't Say Hi , Neel Patel serves notice that he is a talent to be reckoned with. The 11 stories in this collection are packed with emotion and turn people's perceptions and stereotypes of most Indian Americans on their ear.

Some of the characters in these stories follow traditional paths, while others are anything but traditional—they're Facebook-stalking exes or creating schemes to facilitate booty c
...more
Diane S ☔
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
LOVE AND LOSS, follow the characters in these eleven beautifully written stories. They follow various scenarios in the lives of characters of Indian descent, maintains their own customer, while navigating new lives in the states. The title story is so usual the one that stands out and concerns two brothers who once close fall out over a careless comment one of them makes. Their estrangement will last ten years.

The last two stories are connecting stories, about a man and woman , once involved, an
...more
Thomas
3.5 stars

A great debut short story collection that centers the complex lives of first-generation Indian Americans, some queer and some straight. Neel Patel, an emerging voice in literature, dispels the model minority myth with these 11 well-written stories. Though people often make assumptions about Indian Americans (e.g., they are rich, all they care about is working hard and getting their kids into good schools, their families all abide by the same traditions) this collection reveals the messi
...more
Celeste Ng
IF YOU SEE ME, DON'T SAY HI bristles with unexpected meetings and reunions, recognitions and failed recognitions, passions and estrangements of all kinds. These stories have a sharp eye for the complexities of modern life, but Neel Patel writes with the wisdom and compassion of an old soul.
TL
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. :)
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3.5 stars overall

A well done collection of stories. Actually enjoyed all of them:) Not that I wasn't expecting to but sometimes it is in the back of my mind when I pick up any short story collection.

Loved taking the time to savor these.

No complaints about this one:) Definitely re-read material down the road.
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Individual ratings:

God of Destruction : 3 stars

Hare rama, hare krishna : 4 stars

hey, loser : 3.5 star
...more
Kathleen
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Indian American Patel’s short story collection is comprised of eleven tales of young men and women flailing in their attempts to find meaningful relationships. Patel’s characters are not afraid to seek friendship—or lovers—but communication seems inevitably to go sideways, resulting in frayed friendships, and broken hearts. Patel seems to sum it up with a quote taken from ‘God of Destruction’; “Happiness is a currency: that when it goes, it goes and few people are willing to give you some of the ...more
Rod-Kelly Hines
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-owned
This is a lovely collection of quaint stories unified by the common theme of human imperfection. Although each story features an Indian protagonist, the cultural references are secondary to the universal experiences these characters deal with. I could deeply relate to something in every story and that is the mark of a great collection. Much of it is focused on love, domestic life, and careers and all of the strangely profound feelings that these everyday features of life can unearth in us.
Olha
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The main problem of short stories – they are short. However, they are a wonderful choice for travelling. You can read different stories in whatever order you like, whenever you want and don’t memorize characters and their doings to follow the story.

“If you see me, don’t say Hi” by Neel Patel contains eleven stories. Each of them is interesting, but not each one leaves a mark. I mean, when I was reading the fifth story I could not remember what previous four were about. By the way, it is better
...more
Sachi Sabella
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
What I liked most about this book is that it was an easy, fast read. The book left me lost and confused. The details were clear, the characters were all sad and strange. Depressing, but I didn’t feel bad for them. I almost wanted something horrible to happen to them just so I could see some type humanness.

Can a book be boring and intriguing at the same time? This was a different type of read for me
Jade
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love writing short stories but funnily enough I only really started reading them this past decade. I don’t know why I used to avoid the genre because I feel it showcases a writer’s talent in a way that can sometimes get submerged in a novel.

Anyway, Neel Patel’s début collection, If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi, does a great job showcasing his talent: he’s an exceptional writer. Each story contains gem upon gem of wonderful insights into human nature, culture, and relationships. All shrouded with a
...more
Ylenia
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A really interesting collection of short stories that explores sex, obsession, relationships and traditions. The protagonists were all Indians living in America, people we often don't hear stories from in literature.
Tes - paperbackbones
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The stories in this collection had such an earnest openness about them. I was beyond pleased at how diverse the characters were - men, women, gay, straight, young & older, etc. Some narratives were stronger than others, but all of them offered compelling insights (& often, dark humor) that I eagerly devoured. In these, Patel explored relationships— between people and their families, their spouses, and friends. But he also explored the complex relationships between Indian-American people ...more
Janelle
Thank you so much Flatiron Books for providing my free copy of IF YOU SEE ME, DON’T SAY HI by Neel Patel - all opinions are my own.

This is an incredible debut collection of eleven short stories about love and loss with wonderful and thoughtful characters. These stories negate the stereotypes of Indian Americans and show a wide range of interesting characters who lead different lifestyles but who all have one thing in common: they are each faced with life changing decisions. I love that each stor
...more
Stephanie
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, read-in-2018
Thanks to Flatiron for sending me a review copy!

Through the eleven stories in this collection, Neel Patel explores stereotypes and expectations with his Indian American protagonists. Most are young (none past middle age; most are teenagers or in their twenties), straddling the world of their parents and the culture they now find themselves - arranged marriages, online dating, unrequited love.

It's an easy collection to read - often funny, often engrossing, but at the end I felt a little cold. In
...more
Tyler Goodson
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
These stories are about people on the brink--in between cultures, relationships, jobs--and this instability lends Patel's collection a sense of uncertainty and danger, and his characters vulnerability. They are not the shining stars of their families, but the daughters you make excuses for or the brothers you pretend don't exist. They are familiar, funny, sad, and true, and populate stories that are surprising, entertaining, and memorable.
Patricia Highsmith's Snail
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5

I read this compulsively! But not always with enjoyment. The world Patel describes is very closeted, very materialistic (albeit with flashes of superstition and myth). All of his characters are somehow affected by their parents’ and immediate communities’ obsession with job titles, educational attainment, etc. They most often choose to disappear rather than rebel in any crazed way. I didn’t mind the homogeneity of the fictional world - it created a rhythm and and an aesthetic (car brands, a l
...more
Cherise Wolas
Family stories that include coming of age, coming to one's sexuality, parental expectations, parental disappointments, sexual exploration, the focus on education, sibling disputes, etc., set among Indian families who live largely in Illinois. In a few, characters migrate from one story to another, or we are shown the flip side of a story. While the Indian parents have immigrated to America, their children are US-born, and, to a degree, there is the push-pull between the rites and rituals of fami ...more
Miriam
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
These stories are full of regret. Of failure, of what could’ve been. Each one made my heart ache and fill with longing. Complex relationships between family and others, written smoothly and expertly.
Vivek Tejuja
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short-story collection that is written well and paces itself beautifully always lifts my spirits. It is the feeling of the book never ending. A feeling that it should last a little longer, even though it might end. Some more. And that's exactly what I felt but of course while reading If You See Me, Don't Say Hi.

Neel Patel's stories are quiet and tender. They pack a punch nonetheless when they have to. What lends to them superbly is the writing - the in-depth and heart-wrenching intimacy of thi
...more
Jacqueline
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Aside from ~3 stories I didn't love, all of these stories in this collection broke my heart, made me feel all the feelings, emptied my soul, tore me apart (hey, that rhymes)... which is exactly what I aim to get out of reading in general. Similar motifs and themes are employed throughout each story; each involves an Indian-American character who's either incredibly rich and employed as a doctor or lawyer or has parents who are employed as such, or who's working class and has parents who own a mo ...more
Tova
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
That was a highly interesting diverse collection of stories mini rtc
Sarah Ames-Foley
You can also find this review on my blog.

cw: homophobia; sex; infidelity; racism; drunk driving; sexual assault/csa
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.

We lived through the lives of our future selves, passing our remaining days in a fugue.

My rating for each story:

god of destruction 4/5
hare rama, hare krishna 4/5
hey, loser 4/5
just a friend 4/5
if you see me, don
...more
Kelly
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Great debut collection of short stories. I enjoyed every single one of these. The characters are mostly first generation Indian Americans. I enjoyed the very real flawed characters in so many different types of relationships.
Michelle
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Compelling and captivating short stories. Each story provoked many emotions. After each story I needed to contemplate on what it meant or represented.
Ming
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Each story has a twist. A catch. Something that was introduced as one thing would become something else. The series of short stories made this writing element more pronounced; and the pattern started to feel like a gimmick.

The stories are quick reading and they're generally good. I liked how the stories were varied in terms of main characters (some were men, women, etc.)

I liked "hare rama, hare krishna," and "just a friend." I feel like I've read "the other language" before (but perhaps elsewher
...more
Faith
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, overdrive
I'm not generally a short story fan, and these stories of various romantic couplings and family relationships didn't win me over. I might try a novel by this author some day, but no additional short stories.
Boz
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I do not normally gravitate towards short story collections, but the title of the book and its cover intrigued me. Within the first few pages, I was hooked and knew I found a new author whose work I will seek out the instant it becomes available. "If You See Me, Don't Say Hi" has eleven concise stories, roughly about 20 pages each, which highlights various present-day platonic, familial, and romantic relationships between an array of characters. The book would definitely not be classified as a t ...more
Mike Heyd
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gauraa  Shekhar
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Patel’s stories are fever dreams. They quietly steep into your consciousness. Get enmeshed in reality. It’s only when you’re recounting these stories over dinner that something tips askance. You’re forced to remember that these experiences didn’t really happen to a friend, or to a friend of a friend, but to a character in a book you inhaled in a single sitting one night last week. So fast it almost didn’t happen.

If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi is a world of cruel watchfulness. Peopled with characte
...more
Oswego Public Library District
How does it feel to be brown? First generation Indian-Americans are featured in this excellent set of eleven short stories from an author raised and educated in Illinois.

The stories scrutinize the collisions of old world and new world ways and the impact of traditional beliefs (like arranged marriage). Parental expectations of high grades and successful careers for their sons and a 'good' marriage for their daughters is strongly communicated. As the next generation grows up in the American cultu
...more
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