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Imaginary Men

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  926 ratings  ·  116 reviews
This charming novel about a Bengali-American matchmaker in San Francisco who creates an imaginary fiancé in order to satisfy her marriage-minded traditional parents offers a fresh variation on the timeless theme of a young woman's quest for true love.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Lina Ray has a knack for pairing up perfect couples as a professional matchmaker in
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Gallery Books
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3.22  · 
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 ·  926 ratings  ·  116 reviews

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Jun 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: those who want a mindless read
Shelves: life-wasters
I learned that I too can write a mediocre chick lit novel because all you need to get one published is:

- gutsy, accomplished, strong-minded protagonists and a dimwitted, medieval-minded, antifeminist supporting cast

- an obstacle that, even if I keep describing it as impossible, is really not an obstacle just a mere wall 6 inches from the floor that the protagonist is too lazy to step over

- a really really really good-looking (and obvious) love interest

- to really get my book published, i should
I picked this book up, loving the premise. An American Desi woman who feels pressured to get married after her younger sister gets married (almost) the traditional way. At 29, her extended family try to introduce her to suitable matches - to which American raised Lina was much too independent to handle. So she lies, starting with the creation of a fiance who is absolutely to die for, IF he existed. She even manages to name him 'Raja' after an sexy (but supposedly a traditional Indian) stranger s ...more
Book Concierge
Lina Ray is a professional matchmaker in the San Francisco bay area who has yet to make her own match. When at her sister’s wedding in India, her Aunt Kiki insists on arranging a marriage. To save herself from “the bachelor from hell” she blurts out “I’m engaged!” Before she knows it she has invented a gorgeous, rich man, and now Aunt Kiki is headed to California to check him out and confirm the match. Lina has just two months to meet and get engaged to her dream prince!

Okay, this is chick-lit,
Jul 11, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: someone with nothing better to do
Shelves: chic-lit, 2007
The writing was a bit too elementary for me. And it's not a good book to read after having just finished The Tea Rose. I don't want to give it an unfair review but it was hard to grow attached to any of the characters. The entire time I kept thinking of how detached I felt from the characters and the plot. Even when she tries to be creative with her story telling she still falls short. Jumping from one situation to the next and concluding chapters or paragraphs with no resolutions. I had a feeli ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
I bought this because Amazon suggested it as a related book I might enjoy. Over and over, I found myself having to reread passages because my mind had wandered. Superficial characters, predictable plot. It has a few cute moments and good observations but overall "Imaginary Men" comes off as clueless fluff.
Lying is not a good thing; I think we all know that. Lying about relationships is obviously a bad idea and lying about relationships to your relations is a recipe for disaster.

When Lina goes to her younger sister’s wedding, her relatives start pressurising her to marry a ‘nice boy’ and begin lining up what they consider to be suitable candidates. Lina does the worst possible thing and makes up a fiancé. Normal standard chick-lit would only require to make up a boyfriend but Lina’s life’s not qui
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Big dumb fun. I read this last night in 3 hours, not sure why I put it on reserve at the library; it must have been in a Jane Austen tribute list or something. It was predictable, but lovable. The main character is a matchmaker in San Franscico, orginally from India. After the wedding of her sister, she dreams up the perfect fiance...a prince, and is mortified when she can't come clean to her family and they expect to meet him. Of course she ends up with a prince, really...but it's not a plot sp ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lina makes a living by pairing up the perfect couples to be married. After losing her fiance in an accident, Lina prefers to continue being the Matchmaker instead of looking for love again. While in India for her sister's wedding she creates a little "white lie" that she is engaged to avoid marital pressures from her family. Little did she know how the lie could spiral into a big misunderstanding. Along the way, she meets Raja. Could he be the perfect man for Lina? Romantic and funny. A quick re ...more
Mar 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Most people think chick lit is bad writing but this is just badly-written chick lit. Plot points are introduced randomly, characters are never fully fleshed out...I can handle strange chick lit premises but they need to be well-written. I hate to pan someone's writing because I don't know if I could do better, but this was really hard to read.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
Rubbish, I felt nothing for the main characters and the story is so out dated: if Lina doesn't want to get married then why doesn't she just come out straight with it, she already lives away from her parents, she isn't a virgin and is supposedly an independent woman so why does she need to invent a fiance to please her parents? This is chick lit with no soul what so ever. Avoid.
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Anna-Lisa by:
Shelves: romance
This was an awesome tomance novel in Bollywood style!

I loved the funny and so realistic characters and the fact that this wasn't a love story with kitsch. It was cute, a fast read and touching. It was a book which made me sigh in the end. :)
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An excellent combination of cross cultural travels and comedy. I was touched by the innocent and loving side of the lead. She tries to find Mr Right for herself and for her family while keeping one food in America and one in India.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: desi, didn-t-finish
This book is terrible. Don't waste a moment of your life reading it. I got the idea from others that it would be amusing to see what desi chick lit is, but having dipped a millimeter of my toe into it, I ran away screaming. It's the brown equivalent of shuffling.
Feb 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Cute multi-cultural chick lit that any forward-thinking woman can relate to. It also has a bit of Elizabeth/Darcy flavoring thrown in as well...and real princes :).
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book gets 2.5 stars from me because it was a quick and easy read, which we all need sometimes. But really?..... Superficial characters and a predictable plot; the writing was a bit elementary for my taste.
Lina is a matchmaker who lives in San Francisco, but who is Indian by birth and whose traditional parents still live in India. Two years ago her fiancé died, and Lina has never gotten over him, and never got back into the dating scene. At Lina’s sister’s wedding, in India, Lina is faced wi
Marisa Gonzalez
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit
A young woman goes to her sister's wedding in India. Feeling pressure from the family to marry she lies by stating that she is engaged to a handsome rich man only to meet a handsome rich man that evening who she is interested in. Her dilemma, finding a rich man to get engaged to before the family discovers her lie and whether or not she should pursue a long distance relationship with the man she met that evening. This book follows a basic formula for chick lit. It was very silly with little conf ...more
Melody Loomis
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a cute book. I read it because I wanted something fun and breezy to read, and this was. I do feel the ending was a bit rushed though. As soon as Raja comes into the picture again, that whole part of the book was rushed. I don’t know if the author just wanted to go ahead and wrap it up or what, but might have been nice for a little more to the story. But I won’t complain too much…I wanted a fast read and this one was.
Denise Tarasuk
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chic-lit
Light and fun! Anjali Banerjee let you in with the main character who gets herself into a big mess with an Imaginary Man! As reader I felt like I was part of the family, grasping for air, trying to solve the problem and find Mr. Right. Fun to the very last page. Enjoyment! I could not put Imaginary Men down!
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Predictable romance about a woman who meets a mystery man in a garden, then makes up an imaginary fiancee to get her family to stop nagging her, and gives him the mystery man's name. Guess where this goes?
Nancy Palmer
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This was a really interesting story. If only it were as simple as being able to see a silver thread connect one heart to another to find true love. That would be something to witness each day. I did like Lina. She was strong, determined, and willing to be true to herself.
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was super cute and a quick read! Finished within 24 hours :)
May 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
The problem with putting books aside to journal later, is that you often forget what you wanted to say about them. I'm at a point in my life, when do to circumstances and responsibilities, I only seem to be able to tolerate light, semi-frivolous reads; ones that entertain and amuse and don't demand much thought or concentration.

This book, which was left on a take a book, leave a book shelf that is a BookCrossing zone, seemed like it might fit the bill -- and it did. Having spent time living in
Aug 05, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this book, it was a quick read. I liked Banerjee's writing style and short chapters, made it much easier to breeze through it. The actual story was a little predictable, but it was cute. It told the story of how pretty much every girl is on a life-long search for her prince charming. Despite the predictable-ness, I still found it to be a good story. I would probably recommend it to some of my younger friends rather than say my mother or aunts. I also enjoyed that it brought the two cultu ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
This book uses a mish-mash of many stock romance plots, the matchmaker, the faked fiance etc. and blends it with an exotic Indian background which freshens them up nicely. Lena, the female lead, had this "imaginary man" which represents her ideal and which she measures all other men by. That is not a problem in itself just another of those romance cliches I was referring to, however, she actually sees, feels, hears and talks to this imaginary man, not so much a problem in the privacy of her apar ...more
Robbin Melton
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Indian fiction and this book is almost perfect! It's fast-paced, sweet, funny and quirky. It's the age-old story about a woman unexpectedly meeting her prince charming. The only flaw in the story, however, is it moved a bit too fast about two-thirds through the book. And, towards the last few chapters, this tale was moving so fast a lot of details got lost and you have to use your imagination. The story does have two cute twists to it, though, and it does make for very entertaining readin ...more
Nov 08, 2015 added it
Shelves: rooooomance, dnf
I should have remembered that I loathe with a passion stories that rely on the "I made up a boyfriend/fiance that my entire family believes in wholeheartedly, how shall I ever confess to them that I lied like a rug about it?" I can never believe in relationships that start with that level of deception, and 55 pages into this one, the "hero" has appeared once for 15 minutes, during which time he told the heroine that he wants a perfect, dutiful wife who will support him, bear his children, and ta ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I don't know why but it just didn't capture me like i hoped it would. but i liked that in the end all the characters had closures. but the parts of India, I didn't feel like it was really experienced with living there.
Marla Martenson
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book from Anjali Banerjee's book that I read. I picked it up at Target a few years ago. It was a sweet story about a matchmaker, Lina Ray,in San Francisco. Her highly traditional Indian family wants her to get married and when her Aunt introduces Lina to a bachelor she has no interest in at her sister's wedding in India, Lina blurts out, "I'm engaged!" She thought hey, what's the harm in a little lie? Well, that opens a can of worms and has Lina scrambling to invent a financé. ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have to admit to my more sophisticated friends that I really am a sucker for a well-written romantic novel, and this is one. It started out a little slow, but I soon became hooked. I especially enjoyed the overlay of Indian culture to the story. Also, the heroine, Lina, asks herself questions about people, places, and events the way I do. The silver threads and the imaginary man are quite fantastic, but they work for me. Finally, I loved her descriptions of the men in the story. It was amusing ...more
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Play Book Tag: Imaginary Men / Anjali Banerjee - 1* 1 7 Dec 23, 2017 05:26AM  

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I was born in India, raised in Canada and California, and I now live in the Pacific Northwest, in a cottage in the woods, with my husband and six rescued cats.

I've always loved to write. When I was seven, I penned my first story about an abandoned puppy on a beach in Bengal. Then, inspired by my maternal grandmother—an English writer who lived in India—I wrote a mystery, The Green Secret, at the a
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