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Passage West

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A Recommended Book from BookRiot, Bustle, The Millions and Teen Vogue

A Los Angeles Times BEST CALIFORNIA BOOK of 2020 * A New England Independent Booksellers' 2020 NEW ENGLAND BOOK AWARD FINALIST

A sweeping, vibrant first novel following a family of Indian sharecroppers at the onset of World War I, revealing a little-known part of California history

1914: Ram Singh arrives in the Imperial Valley on the Mexican border, reluctantly accepting his friend Karak’s offer of work and partnership in a small cantaloupe farm. Ram is unmoored; fleeing violence in Oregon, he desperately longs to return to his wife and newborn son in Punjab—but he is duty bound to make his fortune first.

In the Valley, American settlement is still new and the rules are ever shifting. Alongside Karak; Jivan and his wife, Kishen; and Amarjeet, a U.S. soldier, Ram struggles to farm in the unforgiving desert. When he meets an alluring woman who has fought in Mexico’s revolution, he strives to stay true to his wife. The Valley is full of settlers hailing from other cities and different continents. The stakes are high and times are desperate—just one bad harvest or stolen crop could destabilize a family. And as anti- immigrant sentiment rises among white residents, the tensions of life in the west finally boil over.

In her ambitious debut novel, Rishi Reddi, award-winning author of Karma and Other Stories, explores an enduring question: Who is welcome in America? Richly imagined and beautifully rendered, Passage West offers a moving portrait of one man’s search for home.

429 pages, Hardcover

First published April 21, 2020

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About the author

Rishi Reddi

3 books51 followers
Rishi Reddi was born in Hyderabad, India, grew up in the United Kingdom and the United States, and is a long-time resident of Massachusetts. She attended Swarthmore College and Northeastern Univeristy School of Law. She is the author of Passage West (2020), a Los Angeles Times "Best California Book of 2020," and Karma and Other Stories (2007), which received the L.L. Winship /PEN New England Award for Outstanding Fiction. An essayist, book reviewer and translator, her work appears in Best American Short Stories, was performed on National Public Radio, and was chosen for honorable mention in the Pushcart Prize. She's been awarded Fellowships from the National Book Critics Circle, MacDowell Artists Colony and Breadloaf, and received grants from the U.S. Department of State and Massachusetts Cultural Council, among others.

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