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A Good Indian Wife

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  3,475 Ratings  ·  438 Reviews
“An absorbing tale of contrasts. . . . Cherian tells the story with quiet strength.” —San Francisco Chronicle

"Neel Sarath, an Indian-American anesthesiologist in San Francisco, believes he's distanced himself from traditional Indian life with his blonde American girlfriend, his Porsche, and his spotless, Pine-Sol-scented condo. But after his family tricks him into coming h
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 8th 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2008)
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Jenifer Hanen
If this book is considered a light summer read, then I give it 4 four points for a tale of 1980s immigrants struggling to figure out to which culture they belong, with a bit of a love-ish story thrown in. If a light summer read, then is also succeeded in introducing the average American reader to the ups and downs of immigration for upper class, educated Indians.

If the book is meant to be considered a literary novel that examines the immigrant experience and contrasts between India of the 1980s
Disclaimer: This might be a very emotional review. Oh, and I'm Indian.

I'm twenty two years old so I have no idea what it was like in the eighties. I am a nineties kid - my childhood moulded by hours of Mario Bros, cartoons like Tom and Jerry and other things. I don't know if this is why this book seems so alien and relatable to me.

Alien because I cannot comprehend why a woman with as much fire and smarts as Leila would stay with someone like Neel. Call me whatever you want but I was full of admi
Lana Del Slay
Feb 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
NUTSHELL: This poor book is so confused, just like its protagonists. 3.

Hey! Don't pick on the book! I suppose a book can't help what it is -- but its writer can, and its writer missed a few of the more obvious novel-writing lessons. Point-of-view changed so often I had whiplash by the third chapter. There's no real sense of time, or place, for that matter. I wouldn't have guessed it was still the nineteen-eighties for the characters if Cherian hadn't mentioned that outright, and her San Francisc
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suneel Sarath, a Stanford graduate and now an anesthesiologist works in San Francisco. He was born in India but has lived in the United States long enough to feel and be completely Americanized. He prefers to be called Neel, lives in a condo, has a foreign girlfriend and very few Indian friends.

Neel like every other American Indian still struggles with his identity and has to oblige to his conservative mother’s request of making a trip to India to visit his ailing (dying) grandfather. Once in In
Claire S
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Claire by: display
Really fun to read, the situation as described being so unbelievable (control freak-guy tricked into marriage in his village in India, totally against his will, to a beautiful, intelligent woman rejected by others for her height and/or seeing a movie with a Muslim guy and/or the one other thing..). But then, as Anne relates the story, it's all very believable. If I ever do write, I'll probably re-read this to look at her technique more - I always wanted to read the next thing, never was bored or ...more
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book about an arranged marriage that actually kind of happens by mistake. I loved reading about the differences in Indian culture - even though I didn’t always know what they were talking about, it was totally descriptive. I really enjoyed Leila’s journey from a daughter in India dealing with numerous rejections and feeling quite useless to a wife in America who’s unsure of her husband’s true feelings, motives and plans. I loved seeing her become more confident and independent an ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was good although I don't know why my library has this as a Young Adult read. The main characters are 35 and 30 years old.
Rio (Lynne)
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm not sure why other reviewers called this a romance? Neel, born in India makes his way to the USA for college and ends up a successful anesthesiologist in San Fransico. He is tricked into going back to India because he is told his beloved grandfather is dying. His mother has other plans. A marriage. Arranged marriages are normal in India. Having worked with Indians myself, this story was very parallel to what they told me. Lelia, who only knows Indian tradition is excited she is finally getti ...more
I’ve had a rather difficult time coming up with a rating for A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian. On one hand, once I got into the story, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what would happen next. I was also delighted to read about aspects of life in India and the Indian immigrant experience, both of which were depicted so well (having been to India myself and engaged to marry an Indian man.) On the other hand, character development was inconsistent, the portrayal of white women in the United ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Cherian is my new favorite author!!, January 19, 2013
By Janna Whitehead - See all my reviews

This review is from: A Good Indian Wife: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
I have read many books about India and have come to love their food, their history, their culture. But, this is my favorite because of the new aspects I learned about India... and about Indian men especially!! The author is able to write in compelling detail just what thoughts and feelings each character has!! She sho
Dec 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I found the ending unsatisfactory (you just want to shake Suneel for being a prick and Leila for being a dope), this book was a page turner (I was up reading until 1:00 am most work nights trying to finish this book)- what would happen to Leila? Would she be bound by tradition and culture to stay with her prick husband or would she become Americanized enough to strike out on her own? On the other hand, you have to wonder if more modern day couples waded through the initial ups and downs of ...more
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is funny how in India one can be so easily categorized: the typical behenji, the one whose mother won't let her go out, the one who's traditional, the wild party freak, the bad character. Why is it then, that after having the word 'America' associated with them does one lose any of this? Is it synonymous with being modern or un-traditional?

Why do we Indians forget that we come from a country where people with mindsets of different centuries co-exist and walk the same streets as we do? Why doe
Felicia Fulks
I actually know the author of this book, and I remember when she told me was writing a book. So I was thrilled when I read it and really enjoyed it. If you're curious about how arranged marriages work and how they affect everyone involved, then this will be an interesting read for you. What really stuck with me was that arranged marriages still serve a valid purpose in many cultures. We Americans still find them strange and someone old-fashioned, but for a culture who wants to preserve its histo ...more
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: whomever likes cheese (not the gouda type)
Recommended to Tina by: some dumb ass staff member at barnes and noble
Never will I ever choose a book from B&N based on a staff member's top reading choices. I decided to pick up this book for something fun to read while at the beach last week. What a colassal waste of my time. It's great for the typical chic that wants the fairy tale; marriage, kids, and etc. I found it a bit too cheesy for my taste and I won't be picking up anymore of this author's books thanks to this piece of crap.
I rated this book three stars but if it were an Indian dish I would give it one star because it is so mild. The author takes us to India, where you can practically feel the heat and humidity on the characters' skin, then to San Francisco where the clime matches the main characters' demeanor for most of the book - you don't really warm up to them, even when they're in the spotlight. And that's a shame after learning that everything Leila knows about the courtship and physical relationship between ...more
Curtis Edmonds
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted her to do it.

Leila is a nice girl, a teacher, and unmarried in rural India. She is set up in an arranged marriage with a young man who left the village years ago to get a medical education, and is an anesthesiologist in San Francisco. They marry in India, have a brief and loveless honeymoon, and he takes her back to the States, where he ignores her and cavorts with his white mistress.

A good part of the story is told from the perspective of the anesthesiologist, who doesn't see himself a
Aug 26, 2009 rated it liked it
The basic message of the book - arranged marriages and the culture clash between India and America - gave what I thought was more than just a glimpse into those things. I could feel the hurt and bewilderment of both Neel and Leila as they struggled to fit into American society. I understood Neel's hurt and anger that he had been tricked into an arranged marriage. But the rest of the story was a bit predictable and the character of Neel was beyond despicable. His repeated lies to this woman whom ...more
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Indian emigrant naturalized as a U.S. citizen is single, is a doctor, lives in San Francisco, dresses nice, has good friends, has true love for the family he has moved so far from, and is good looking. He is also an arrogant deceitful shallow asshole douchebag focused on bling and blondes. On a trip to India to visit his family, he gets railroaded and tricked into an arranged marriage. His new wife is past her prime for arranged marriages, is naive about anything to do with any aspect of a rel ...more
This is another book where I wish we had half stars because it is a solid 3.5. Arranged marriages are intriguing to me, and assimilation in all of its many shapes and variations is equally fascinating. Both are front and center in this book. What I also liked about this book is that the point of view is shared between Neel and Leila, and they have solidly contrasting points of view in just about every sense imaginable.

It's a slow boil, but it really starts to pick up and get interesting. However
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I caught wind of this book before its official release and was somewhat excited about it. I'm something of an Indophile, and while I knew that the story was likely a [spoilers:] "NRI marries abroad and ditches blonde secretary for new bride" tale, I was hoping that the story would be told in such a way that one wanted the two lovers to succeed and prove that sometimes arranged marriages work (just as sometimes love marriages work; call me a pessimist). That is not what happened. Leila is interes ...more
Andrea Blythe
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a lovely story. I really sympathized the Leila, even though her cultural point of view is very different than my own. From an American point of view, she could be seen as naive, but it's very clear that she's trying to find a balance between finding a life that works for herself and honoring her culture and family.

Neel, too, is a fascinating character in how he has given up so much traditional it's almost at the cost of his true self. And yet, he has strength in most of his choice
I thought this book was full of chiches such as couples who fall in love with each other only after marriage and Indian parents anxious to see their children with suitable life partners. I didn't find it a page turner but it had it's interesting parts. Oh how I wanted to smack Neel a lot of times!!!!

Darshan Elena
This book is a boring masala of tropes and traditions: a timid Indian woman flowers into feminism lite, as her strange doctor husband struggles to overcome his fetishization of white women following their arranged marriage. Boring.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The beginning was intriguing, but by the end I wanted to smack everyone.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was a page turner, I couldn't put it down.
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful AND a quick read! This read to me a bit like chick lit, but with more substance and less frou frou. It gave me some insight and education while also being delighted at the story.
Jaya Vemuri
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, portrays the real pic to a large extent
Erin Kinsella
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A successful doctor in America is from India. When Neel leaves India to study at Stanford to become a doctor, he leaves his culture behind and adopts an American way of life, right down to his unfurnished "flat" in Pacific Heights. For three years, Neel has been involved with a white, blonde, blue-eyed hospital secretary. Deep down, he wishes she would go to school so he could be prouder of her and live up to his expectations. Meanwhile, his family in India, call him to come home because his gra ...more
Qualche tempo fa, approfittando di supersconti ibs, ho pescato dei titoli a caso dalla wish list (che giacevano da anni, a ragione) ed il risultato è una serie di libri a dir poco imbarazzanti (l'effetto positivo è stato che dopo questi acquisti ho ripulito la wish list senza pietà).
Questa Moglie Indiana è uno di quei titoli: si lascia leggere ed è anche interessante per un superficiale sguardo alle tradizioni indiane. Tutto il resto è un Harmonyoso fuffone, con una Lei(la) decisamente più inte
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B.B.B.C.: Bookish...: Always a Hot Topic: Arranged vs. Love Marriages 5 7 May 12, 2014 08:54AM  
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Anne Cherian was born and raised in Jamshedpur, India. She graduated from Bombay and Bangalore Universities and received graduate degrees in journalism and comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and visits India regularly.
More about Anne Cherian...
“He was home. In an environment where he felt loved and comfortable in a way not possible in the United States. And yet, he no longer fit in. He loved living in America, but knew that there, too, he didn't quite fit. It was the classic immigrant dilemma.” 3 likes
“He had put them [his family] first by coming home [to India] and the irony was that they had put him first by arranging this marriage. He had walked into it with his eyes open. But his eyes had been open too long in the West and by the time he adjusted his vision to India, it was too late.” 1 likes
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