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3.0 out of 5 starsA good read, but has some artificiality
Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2020
This book’s been praised enough, and it does have a lot going. It’s interesting and fast paced. But there are far too many characters. Some of them are starkly unbelievable, like Nono. I didn’t root for Tina or Marianne. It was more a pastiche of what to think and believe about india than anything authentic. I’d give it 3.5 stars.
I purchased this book as a light read but it turned out to be so much more. It was less about the destination wedding and more about the relationships. It was a search for identity by the lead character, Tina Das. She was born in India but spent most of her life in the United States, a Yale graduate with a career in media, but she didn't feel as though she really belonged or fit in anywhere.
Tina's mother had a very strong sense of self and knew exactly who she was and what she wanted which caused some conflict between mother and daughter. Tina's father was also searching to find his true identity. The trip to India for the destination wedding allowed all to explore their feelings and it came together beautifully at the end. The story also touched on understanding Indian culture from an international and Indian perspective.
5.0 out of 5 starsA caricature of high society keeps you engrossed with its wicked humour.
Reviewed in India on October 4, 2020
Since The Windfall, Diksha Basu is on my list of Must Read Indian Authors. Naturally, then, this was a much awaited book.
Tina wants to feel Indian. Truly Indian. Not Indian in the sense of attending a yoga class in Brooklyn, in the country her parents moved to, to make a new life for themselves. She wants to know the real India but whenever she visits, people take her to bars and restaurants and boutiques that could be anywhere in the world.
She gets her chance to discover her roots when she heads to Delhi for her glamorous cousin Shefali's week-long wedding, with her best friend Marianne, her parents, and her mother's all-American boyfriend in tow. Navigating a world of Delhi playboys, models, dating agencies for widows, and wedding guests with personal bodyguards, Tina is determined to have an authentic Indian experience. Now, if only someone would tell her what that was.
In Destination Wedding, Diksha Basu presents a world teetering on the painfully serrated knife edge of calm and mayhem. I love how she paces her writing with the perfect ratio of speed and conflict.
Her cast of characters is an unusual mix and you find yourself judging them on all kinds of scales. My favourites have to be Neel Das-Tina’s father, and Nono-the groom’s grandmother. Peculiar doesn’t even begin to describe them and yet they are the two most endearing people in this entire charade. Amidst the bizarre wedding party and festivities, Basu draws a caricature of high society which keeps you thoroughly engrossed with its wicked humour.
A book for all seasons - be it a hot summer, a gloomy monsoon or a vibrant wedding season – Destination wedding will have you laughing till your sides hurt and you can laugh no more.