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Miss New India

(Three Sisters from Calcutta #3)

2.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,208 ratings  ·  267 reviews
Born into a traditional lower-middle-class family, Anjali sets off to Bangalore where she falls in with an audacious and ambitious crowd of young people. However, the seductive pull of modernity does not come without a dark side . . .

Anjali Bose is "Miss New India." Born into a traditional lower-middle-class family and living in a backwater town with an arranged marriage o
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2011)
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2.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,208 ratings  ·  267 reviews

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Lisa Sansone
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Random thoughts:

- It was kind of light, and easy to read, which I appreciated. The writer writes, for the most part, with an engaging touch. In a way, it's kind of a "pop" novel that deals with real, interesting themes.

- Conversely, though it deals with fairly serious, "large" themes (especially the tensions between old and new in a rapidly changing India), I'm not sure it qualifies as "great literature". In fact, it was the author's attempts at "great literature" that made it ultimately fall a
Robert E.  Kennedy Library
I wanted to like this book better than I did: it started out strong, with a young Indian woman from a mofussil (provincial) town on the brink of deciding to flee an impending marriage arranged by her family. An American teacher takes an interest and offers to help her go to Bangalore instead and make her own way in the world.

Once Anjali arrives in Bangalore, though, the story fell apart for me. While it dealt with interesting topics -- Indians immersing themselves in American culture in training
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I went to a reading by Bharati Mukherjee at which she ready the opening chapter of this and liked it enough to try the book. It didn't live up to the promise.

Part One (which ends with Anjali leaving Gauripur) was good but then things go a bit awry. Mukherjee crams as much as such can into the story - arranged marriages, rape, transvestites, gays, ex-pats, meditations on light and photography, call centres, terrorism and more - but the overall impact is that it all runs together and nothing much
Frances Greenslade
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I may have been influenced by the fact that I was in Bangalore when I read it. For me, it captured the paradox of that city and of India in general: cows grazing on garbage beneath billboards advertising Tag Heuer Swiss watches; women in saris riding sidesaddle on the back of husbands' and sons' motorcycles, and women in jeans and helmets riding their own; chai wallahs and Barista cafes. Anjali, the protagonist, is convincing as a young woman who has escaped the traditional ex ...more
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Anjali Bose is a small town girl in rural India who has big dreams. Her teacher, an ex-pat American, encourages her to make something of herself by heading to Bangalore, which they both see as the best new city in India. Anjali eventually heads there, and ends up in more trouble than she anticipated.

The writing in this novel is quite good, very poetic, in the first few chapters, but gradually heads downhill and becomes very pedestrian by the end. The problem, I think, is that there is just way t
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Nineteen year old Anjali Bose lives with her lower middle class family in a small village in India. Her father's dream is to arrange a marriage for her with a suitable boy but Anjali has bigger dreams than that. With the help of her English teacher, Anjali moves to Bangalore with the hopes of becoming a customer support specialist at a call center. She quickly learns that big-city life is not as easy and carefree as she thought it would be.

Anjali was a hard character to like. She floats through
Apr 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
I loathed this book. It's going to be impossible for me to list all of the things I hated about this book. Also there are SPOILERS. And trigger warning for some upsetting things.

But let's start with the character. Anjali? I completely admit to having a total lack of empathy, because I spent most of the book wanting to hit her. I think maybe this was down to bad writing/characterization- I hope this was bad writing, because Anjali had little to no personality. She spent the book: hoping someone
Mathis Bailey
I rate this a 2.5.

I was in the mood for something whimsical and fun so I chose this book knowing little going into it. However it quite didn't meet my expectations.

The story started off enchantingly good with the prospects of suitors for Anjali, then it lost its luster half way through. It went from a romantic tale to a murder mystery real quick. Once Anjali moves to Bangalore all hell breaks lose and the story seems to fall apart somewhere in the middle. There was just way too much melodramati

I picked this up at the library, intrigued by the premise and undeterred by the lukewarm (and sometimes outright negative) reviews on Goodreads. A novel about Bangalore, call centers, and the new Indian woman? Sure--sounds promising. I've read other Mukherjee novels and liked them, so I thought this was worth a try.

Sadly, this was not a winner. The main character, Anjali, is not likable and she's completely shallow...which I could live with, perhaps, if I
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars if Goodreads allowed halves. I was really intrigued to learn about a young Indian woman's journey from bucking the chauvinist old school society where her father was to choose her husband from newspaper ads to a new independent life in Bangalore where the "new India" is emerging and giving women a chance to choose their own destiny. But ultimately I really struggled to identify with Anjali. I think she was supposed to come across as a Bridget Jones type character, someone a bit silly b ...more
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Some things work really well in this novel; for instance, the author does a great job of depicting the internal conflict of modern-day India, with revered rituals and traditions on the one hand, and technology/modernity on the other. Anjali, the main character, represents the generation caught in between these two poles of identity--modern vs. traditional.

Unfortunately, the character of Anjali is also where the novel breaks down. She is continually influenced by other people. She thinks she kno
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I really enjoyed the social commentary and learning about Indian culture. However, the overall storyline was a little weird. It kind of reminded me of Bridget Jones and I do not mean that in a good way. The main character gets herself into various predicaments and then some man comes riding to the rescue. It just seemed a little facile. Rather than dealing with a difficult narrative, just invoke Prince Charming.

However, it was an easy read, it was a fas
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I don’t quite get this book. It is oddly written, with lots of disconnect in both style and plot details. The prose jumps from narration to internal dialogue with nary a by your leave. In the story, I would think I understood a situation, then a throwaway comment 1 or 100 pages later would make me question what actually happened. One spot near the end implies that many years must have passed, since radical city-wide changes seem to have taken place, then the next section reveals it has only been ...more
Christina McLain
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I quite liked this book which was generally light in tone and easy to read. This is the story of Anjani, a young woman who lives her unpreposessing home town and her conventional life to seek fame and fortune in the IT driven new India. Driven by the ambitions of her fomer teacher, an American who came to India in the sixties and stayed on, and by a stunning act of violence a would-be suitor, Anjali goes to Bangalore to seek fame and fortune and succeeds despite many setbacks, inc ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This book went a lot of places. None of them were particularly compelling, at least as they were told. I didn't see any evidence of it being translated from another language but some of the turns of phrase were awkward in a way that often indicates that - and there were whole sections featuring incredibly dense, antiquated language that didn't fit the setting or voice of the main character - would a 19 year old girl ever use the word "propinquity"?? She acknowledged whole sentences not making an ...more
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
All those off shore call centres - don't we just love to hate them and for all sorts of reasons. But probably what is the most annoying thing is they claim to be speaking to you from your home town and you just know that aint so. And do we ever think about the person behind the voice so desperately trying to sound Kiwi, American, English, Australian? Not really, because we just know that the voice is just another Indian voice out of probably a million voices in that vast land mass working in a c ...more
Akila Ally
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
anything that teased out infinity.
And yet his influence hangs over some of us like the vault of heaven.
He went to villages and recorded long litanies of anecdotal history, family memories verging on fantasy, and, especially, local songs. (Note: What a rich life!)
The conventional form of Indian femininity projects itself through long-lashed, kohl-rimmed, startled black eyes. Modest women know to glance upward from a slightly bowed head. (Note: lol this is kinda true but also so 90s I don't
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm in a script club (like book club, but for the theater).
The script was not available for "Disconnect", a play about lives of call center employees so we read this book instead. I enjoyed most of the book. The ending is awkward and for me it was unsatisfying.

This is two books mashed together. One is the story of Anjali/Angie/Anjolie our fantastical Bollywood Cinderella. She is alternately confident and unable to cope, makes poor choices without knowing the consequences (like every young adul
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Miss New India is a novel whose intent seems clear – the dissolution of traditional India via a social revolution steeped in the “benefits” of materialism. It is the new India, a feminine universe, whoring herself out to the westernized world; namely the USA. In this regard, India is young and naive, like the protagonist, Anjali. India has not yet matured from her experience. It is adolescent growth in progress - the outcome yet unknown. Like Anjali, it is still being invented. India’s purpose i ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting story of the emerging women of India,although not very likeable, Anjali Bose is the author's view of the new Miss India. Angie has been brought up to expect a successful arranged marriage, despite her sister's disastrous example. Growing up in a small town, she nevertheless catches the interest of an expat teacher who sees potential in her. From the description, I just see a spoiled brat who expects Prince Charming, selected by her father, to sweep her off her feet to riches and glor ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: india
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would - yes, the characters have no emotional depth, BUT the plot moves along so quickly that I couldn't put it down. It is the (fictional) story of a young Indian woman who leaves her backwater town to escape an arranged marriage and ends up in Bangalore trying to get a job at a call center. As one of the Americans on the other end of the phone line I found this part to be the most interesting in the book. The training these people receive: practi ...more
Aug 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2011
I picked up this book after reading the starred review in Booklist. Sadly the book did not live up to that review, at least for me. Anjali (Angie) leaves her home and upcoming arranged marriage for the city of Bangalore, home to call centers looking for workers. Anjali finds a housing arrangement due to contacts of her expatriate teacher, a writer held in some esteem in India. She lives off the teacher's monetary gift and when she finally seeks employment at a company the teacher had introduced ...more
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, older-ya
I've wondered about those who answer phone calls in Indian service centers. How do they do it? This is the story of a young woman who leaves her family to escape an awful arranged marriage and goes to Bangalore at her English teacher's suggestion. He helps her with letters of introduction and a new life begins. Some scenes are tough and upsetting but vivid and believable. The author's ability to convey the thoughts of Anjolie as she struggles to appear mature and succeed in a difficult situatio ...more
Catherine Siemann
Jul 10, 2011 rated it liked it
The story of Anjali Bose, a young woman escaping her backwater town and the future her parents plan for her, Miss New India has a lot to say about the new economy of India and the impact it's having on society, as she moves to Bangalore in search of a brighter future. It was an absorbing, engaging read, but Anjali is so naive that it's hard to understand why her American teacher, and subsequent potential mentors, see her as potentially extraordinary. Because the third-person narrative is very mu ...more
May 17, 2011 rated it liked it
In this book Miss New India author basically takes you on the trip through the life of a19yr old girl. The book is fun because the main character Anjali is pretty charismatic playful and very descriptive - kinda takes you there. The story starts of as the typical scenario, Anjali who is about to be married of to the perfect boy but she wants more out of her life then to be housewife in some remote town. As the pressure from continues, she find a friend and support in a professor, who motivates h ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, india
Picked this up after bookclub as one of the "If you liked ___ book, you might like this" suggestions, with the blank in that case being "Brick Lane" by "Monica Ali.

Back cover sounded enticing, I had great hopes, and then I abandoned it early on because I just could not deal with the rampant and casual sexual molestation. I do not question whether the author is portraying harsh reality or not (news out of the subcontinent over the past years makes in only too clear that this was not exagerrated)
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally picked up this book to read because my daughter was about to embark on a month-long trip through India and I thought it help me learn a bit about the country and its culture. It didn't disappoint! This book was a great read - likeable characters, vivid descriptions, and gives the reader a look at the part of India where changes are either happening,or at least the hope of change is happening.
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Unlikeable protagonist, messy writing, characters left hanging in the ether. Spoiler alert: in this book, the Muslim is a terrorist and the Sindhis are shady businesspeople, so there's the overt prejudice too.

On a happier note, I think I would like to visit Bangalore.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cultural
Skipped many pages to try to finish this book! At the end of the book, I was left clueless to what it was all about!
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
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Bharati Mukherjee was an Indian-born award winning American writer who explored the internal culture clashes of her immigrant characters in the award-winning collection The Middleman and Other Stories and in novels like Jasmine and Desirable Daughters.

Ms. Mukherjee, a native of Calcutta, attended schools in England, Switzerland and India, earned advanced degrees in creative writing in the United S

Other books in the series

Three Sisters from Calcutta (3 books)
  • Desirable Daughters
  • The Tree Bride
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