In Miss New India, author Bharati Mukherjee takes readers inside the country’s conflicting worlds, where recent grad Anjali Bose is trapped between the life her parents want for her and the future that she imagines for herself in India’s fastest-growing city. Read by Farah Bala, the story is a traditional coming-of-age story with a few smart stops along the way.
After a violent encounter with her parents’ choice of prospective husband, Anjali leaves the tiny town where she grew up and hops a bus to Bangalore, where, she’s been told, success comes easy to the young Indians who work in call centers. She plans to reinvent herself new name, new clothes, new life by perfecting her English, experiencing the world, and leaving her past behind. Of course, as anyone who’s ever tried to escape their youth can tell you, that’s not always as easy as it sounds.
As she adjusts to her new life in Bangalore, Anjali’s feelings swing from determined and excited to terrified and she is a teenage girl, after all a little whiny. Narrator Farah Bala gives Anjali’s dialogue a wide range of emotion as she navigates the ups and downs of trading one life for another: from making friends and flirting with love interests to finding out what’s happened to the family she left at home, Anjali’s thoughts are as serious, passionate, anxious, and flighty as you’d expect. Along the way, a lively cast of characters weaves in and out of Anjali’s story, and Bala handles them all American English teachers, a traditional landlady, shady acquaintances with ease. Her impressive range of accents even allows her to layer one on top of the other for Indian characters pretending to be American in the call centers, all of which offers an intriguing look at the way U.S. culture is seen around the world. Blythe Copeland
Anjali Bose is Miss New India. Born into a traditional lower-middle-class family and living in a backwater town with an arranged marriage on the horizon, Anjali's prospects don't look great. But her ambition and fluency in language do not go unnoticed by her expat teacher, Peter Champion. And champion her he does, both to other powerful people who can help her along the way and to Anjali herself, stirring in her a desire to take charge of her own destiny.
So she sets off to Bangalore, India's fastest-growing major metropolis, and quickly falls in with an audacious and ambitious crowd of young people who have learned how to sound American by watching shows like Seinfeld in order to get jobs as call-center service agents, where they are quickly able to out-earn their parents. And it is in this high-tech city where Anjali, suddenly free from the traditional confines of class, caste, gender, and mores, able to confront her past and reinvent herself. Of course, the seductive pull of modernity does not come without a dark side....
©2011 Bharati Mukherjee (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
So I'm finishing up listening to Miss New India and it's just great! ♥ Believable, compelling characters! Farah Bala's narration is endearing and sweet. The comments about her "high, whiny voice" have to do with her Indian accent, which is to be expected. She confuses "condescension for "condensation" at one point, and far from being annoying, you can still tell what she means but it highlights the problem of Indian-American communication that the story tackles. I bought this one on a whim and am not disappointed. You find the characters behaving in refreshingly honest ways, from filching shampoo to losing their tempers in just the normal way. This one is worth your credit, as long as accents don't trouble you. If they DO trouble you... well... this one may not be for you.
Narrative makes the world go round.
This was not what I expected from a Bharati Mukerherjee novel -- it was an easier listen, but still had some serious themes. I disliked the narrator for the first half, but then once accustomed to her, I began to think the choice of a "hestitant" audio voice may have been intentional to match the hesitant literary voice.
While Audible's current sale has this under Chick Lit, don't expect a "Shopaholic in Delhi" kind of listen. It's got more depth than that!
This profile is under my husband's name since Audible merged with Amazon. So just call me Bob. Or wife of Bob. Or the reader in the family. Whatever.
to the main character AND the narrator. I never really fully accepted the narrator, especially her characterization of the main character..shrill and grating. I didn't like the main character at all most of the time...not that that's a fatal flaw, I'm not sure she's meant to be very likable. What I really liked about this book was the 'slice of Indian life' aspect. I found the interactions between young Indians and upwardly mobile, downwardly mobile, poor, affluent and desperate Indians enlightening and fascinating.
This is a great audio book. The narrator is excellent and the story offers a window into another culture.
My take on the book--I liked listening about modern day India. I liked all the characters EXCEPT the main character! I know that not all main characters are commanding, take-charge types, but she made me nuts with her inability to make some decent choices independently! I loved the people around her who helped, though. The story itself was decent, basically one about a sheltered small town girl moving to the big city and how confusing it can be. It was worth a listen, but I think I bought it on sale, so I don't feel like a credit was wasted.
If you want to know about a side of modern India that you do not know about, this book will open you eyes. You are imersed into the story and the setting and you feel as if you are really there.
This is a book about remaking oneself. Sometimes we think that this is an uniquely American concept. Certainly we see here that this is not the exclusive occupation of Americans. Other reviewers talk about the "whiny voice" of the heroine. Do not be misled to think that this is "light reading/listening" in the sense that it is empty headed listening or reading. The change in voice of the heroine reflects how she sees her on place, her lack of belonging, especially her precarious position, in life. Put yourself in that place and you will see how your voice could become small, tinny, or "whiny" too. Then see how your voice could become full-fledged, well expressed, strong in the end as you finally achieve your goals. The voice quality represents the travel through an arduous life, a development, and finally finding strength. This is a fabulous book, of dreams and of harsh reality, and of finding one's true wonderful place in life.
The main character drifts through the story without ever doing much of anything. While I suppose a story is told, that's really a bit of a stretch. There is no plot, no villain, hardly any action at all taken by the main character. Intensely boring.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. In fact, until I looked it up on the internet, I had assumed it wasn't fiction! (Although, toward the end it was clear it was fiction. It got rather silly.)
The story line itself was decent, but nothing spectacular. I enjoyed more the backdrop of India and modern Indian culture, as well as the historical perspective from both the British and Indian side thanks to the old British lady the main character lives with for a while.
Bala does a pretty good job with the narration. The accents she uses lend some authenticity to my rather naive ears. Maybe somebody who knows the actual fine points of regional Indian accents could critique them, but they were good enough for me. There were some awkward points in the narration, but those seemed to mirror to the "English Language Learner" status of the main character.
This might be a very good book. I'll probably never know unless I buy it, since I don't think I can get through the audio version. The narrator's high-pitched, whiny rendering of the main character's voice is driving me crazy and completely distracting me from the story line. I'm disappointed because I had heard good things about this book and had high hopes for the audio version.
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