Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “If You See Me, Don't Say Hi” as Want to Read:
If You See Me, Don't Say Hi
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,036 ratings  ·  340 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,036 ratings  ·  340 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of If You See Me, Don't Say Hi
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
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
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.
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
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. :)
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.

Individual ratings:

God of Destruction : 3 stars

Hare rama, hare krishna : 4 stars

hey, loser : 3.5 star
Jun 26, 2020 added it
Honestly, this review says it about as well as I could

Watch me discuss this book:
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
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
Read By RodKelly
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
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
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid collection of short stories, all centering around the East Indian-American experience. Interestingly, about a third of them also have LGBTQ elements, and another third have female narrators, unusual in a male author. Reading them back to back somewhat dilutes their fortitude, however, as he repeats certain elements to deleterious effect (for example, in the final two unrelated stories, the parents of the protagonists are doctors and hotel owners respectively, apparently denoting class di ...more
1.5 stars.

Highly avoidable!

One dimensional characters in stories that are extremely repetitive in essence and just about everything. Themes were intriguing, which is the reason I picked this one up but it was a total disaster in terms of execution. It felt as if the author had merely changed the names and places but the story line or arc was the same. What irritated me the most is the casual nature with which the author has talked about some of the most serious issues, like depression, mental h
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well written stories with meaningful, (although somewhat heavy) themes that were interesting until I started to feel like I was reading the same one over again. It would have benefitted from including one or two from a lighter perspective.
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
After recently reading Devi S. Laskar’s overworked The Atlas of Reds and Blues and rereading Jhumpa Lahiri’s beautifully written but soporific short story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, I didn’t expect a lot from this collection.

What I thought this would be: another bunch of stories that focus on immigrant issues, bursting with tired tropes and stereotypes. Patel’s short stories – written from the viewpoint of women, gay men (both Indian and non-Indian), and straight men – feature anything but
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
not a big fan of the word “devouring” to be used in relation to a book, but i absolutely devoured this-read in one sitting!
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 and thei ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I made it about 1/3 through this one, did not finish. Maybe the best stories were at the end. If so, I'm sorry but I couldn't slog through the rest to get there. My loss. But this book wasn't for me.

One of my favorite quotes that I think of often when taking in Western stories in books or on screen is by G. Willow Wilson from her excellent Alif the Unseen:

Look at all the Eastern writers who've written great Western literature. Kazuo Ishiguro. You'd never guess that The Remains of the Day or Nev
Janelle Janson
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
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
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.
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
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.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like these stories. They started out intriguing enough, but quickly dissolved into repetitive stories with predictable unpredictability, the main ingredients of which were alcohol, sex, and missed or overlooked connections reappearing later in life. All the stories are told in the first person so they blend together even more, none of the characters really being distinguishable.

What bothered me the most was how the stories objectify, simplify, and heteronormatize women and their des
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi is a collection of short stories by the debut writer Neel Patel. Patel, who is a first generation Indian American, writes about identity, sexuality, race and belonging in a way that is both nuanced and realistic, penning characters that surpass the stereotypes to become accessible to the Indian immigrants in the US, who have mostly only had deferential overachievers as characters in the stories written about them.

Set in the US, the stories are compact and accommodate
Karen Nelson
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi is a delicious mix of short stories written by Neel Patel from multiple perspectives of Indian American young adults. In each of the stories, Patel writes from the perspective of brown people who are heterosexual female, a gay male, a married woman experiencing deep grief, a White American male involved with a gay Indian man, while leading us to think about race( and otherness) in America.

Discussing the stereotypes of Indian-American people as they relate to parental
Bill Hsu
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer-asian
Most reviews point out the nuanced and multifaceted Indian American characters, which I do appreciate. There's also a facility with the storytelling that I really like. Context, crucial character details, suspicious gossip etc slip in seemingly without effort; I've read enough short stories that were marred by clunky scene-setting and ham-handed character introductions.

Patel skillfully opens "These Things Happen" (nice title, eh?):
It wasn't that I was a snob or anything; it was that Chloe wasn'
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
  • All the Names They Used for God
  • Severance
  • All You Can Ever Know
  • Days of Distraction
  • The Incendiaries
  • Immigrant, Montana
  • In the Dream House: A Memoir
  • On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
  • A Lucky Man
  • I Know You Know Who I Am
  • Trust Exercise
  • If They Come for Us
  • Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories
  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
  • Friday Black
  • Lot
  • A Burning
See similar books…

Related Articles

This June, as we observe LGBTQ Pride—the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities—we wa...
170 likes · 71 comments
“I wasn't always this way. But the friction of life has a way of turning sharp edges into smooth ones, smooth edges into sharp ones, until you've become a duller, slightly misshapen version of your former self.” 3 likes
“No one ever told me that happiness was like a currency: that when it goes, it goes, and that few people are willing to give you some of theirs.” 1 likes
More quotes…