• The Taste of Ginger

  • A Novel
  • By: Mansi Shah
  • Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (374 ratings)

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The Taste of Ginger  By  cover art

The Taste of Ginger

By: Mansi Shah
Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
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Publisher's Summary

In Mansi Shah’s stunning debut novel, a family tragedy beckons a first-generation immigrant to the city of her birth, where she grapples with her family’s past in search of where she truly belongs.

After her parents moved her and her brother to America, Preeti Desai never meant to tear her family apart. All she did was fall in love with a white Christian carnivore instead of a conventional Indian boy. Years later, with her parents not speaking to her and her controversial relationship in tatters, all Preeti has left is her career at a prestigious Los Angeles law firm.

But when Preeti receives word of a terrible accident in the city where she was born, she returns to India, where she’ll have to face her estranged parents...and the complicated past they left behind. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of her heritage, Preeti catches a startling glimpse of her family’s battles with class, tradition, and sacrifice. Torn between two beautifully flawed cultures, Preeti must now untangle what home truly means to her.

©2022 Mansi Shah (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Narrator Soneela Nankani takes listeners on the roller-coaster ride of emotions felt by Preeti when she returns to India for the first time since she was 7.... Nankani handles flashbacks gracefully, uses several accents to define characters, and makes Indian traditions and settings sparkle.” (AudioFile Magazine)

“A poignant debut novel, reminiscent of Jhumpa Lahiri, that touches on the immigrant experience in America, being caught between two cultures, and finding one’s place in the world.” (Booklist

“A powerful, thoughtful, and also very accessible book that explores culture and class in both India and America, through the eyes of a winning narrator on a quest to understand both places and where she fits in each. Written with a great sense of curiosity and open-heartedness, it is never judgmental, always thoughtful, and while it gave me a lot to ponder, it also swept me away on an adventure and gave me relief from my everyday life. A beautiful book that deserves a big audience. Well done!” (Barbara O’Neal, best-selling author of When We Believed in Mermaids

“Immersive, beautiful and descriptive." (Audicted Podcast)

“Narrator Soneela Nankani adeptly delivers the emotion-charged story, drawing on her skill with accents….Listeners who appreciate fiction with themes of class divisions, immigration, and self-assessment will enjoy.”Library Journal 

What listeners say about The Taste of Ginger

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

good and good

The taste of Ginger is the story of a family who is trying hard to understand the difference between American culture and Hindi culture. a family that is somehow divided by traditions and costumes that made them who they are. even if that meant to act and do things that not necessarily were what you wanted in your life society and these types of costumes somehow push you to do and made you even feel out of place or uncomfortable

This was the case for Preeti Desai, a young woman trying to find herself in a new relationship with someone who is not very welcomed by her parents and that constantly made her feel like an outsider.

The taste of ginger shows us the burdens and walls society constantly puts on us, especially for immigrants or people who don't look like white Americans. Preeti constantly felt like this like an outsider, like she didn't feet in many places or situations, she had to work extra harder to fit in and to be accepted I really felt sad that Preetie felt like that for the majority of her life, navigating always with her face down not to stand or to feel different than the others.

Preetie, and her family stay longer than expected in India, something happened with Preeties brother that makes things difficult and sad creating a reef between families and siblings.

what really bothered me with this story was that many of the secondary characters suffered in a way that never felt like they recovered, I really felt sorry for what happened with Preeties friend at the bar, that situation should have happened and it was very terrible that never got resolved, that's something that I really didn't felt good with the story. no matter how the culture is I felt like it wasn't right to make that character marry someone just because of what society will say about him. it was like he destroyed all his life to make his parents happy and leave society in peace.

The ending also was not what I was looking for, Preetie understood many things about her life and her culture and traditions but it felt like she was doing all over again whatever everybody does getting married or trying to follow the rule Hindu society is known for.

it was a good book and story but I felt sad and angry at all times, is like Preetie was never happy and her family was always making sure to put so much pressure on her. is like why did you move to Aerica if you wanted to follow other costumes, why all the changes if at the end your parents will ask of you what you been running away from?

I'm not criticizing or judging the ideas and the costumes I just don't understand them, I can't live a life just to make others happy, that's not what life is about.

The narrations by Soneela Nankani were great, this is my first time listening to her work and I really like what she did with the characters and the story.

overall it was a good book

3 people found this helpful

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Whiny narrator

The way the narrator says Indeeya makes my skin crawl. The entire book is ruined by the whiny narration and the unnecessary overacting in the telling of the story. I’d have preferred the book if I had read it.

2 people found this helpful

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An Insightful Glimpse into a Story Shared by So Many

I loved this book because of how well it did two things. The first was tell an engaging tale filled with colorfully portrayed characters. The second was to teach us all a lesson about the challenges that immigrants of all cultures experience as they strive to fit into their new country without losing the culture of their roots. I will never unlearn this lesson.

1 person found this helpful

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"Chick lit" with cultural contrasts

The story line was fairly predictable "women's fiction" made more interesting by the contrast between cultures.

1 person found this helpful

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this story never bloomed.

I kept waiting for the plot, then it ended. from start to finish the book was full of boring conversation that went nowhere.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story, bad robotic narration

The story was good, though narrator sounded like a robot a lot of the time

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breath taking peek into two cultures

perfect! acceptance, love and understanding the cost of living in two cultures through the eyes of a first generation young woman. Mansion Shah shares insight crafted info an unforgettable story of coming to know yourself and the cultures that shape you.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story about the immigrant experience

While I really disliked Preeti, I enjoyed the story. The author kept hope alive as her main character would experience a major event and you're thinking she finally gets it, but then she does something very teenagery. Sadly, Preeti's character never really seemed to evolve and truly grow up, but the story is a nice view into India culture.

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Seeing One’s Life with Fresh Eyes

I really enjoyed this book! The story follows the experiences of Preeti as she heads home to India after years of being away. As an adult, she gains new perspective on her family’s life, connections with her culture and roots, and her connection to her life in America. I thought the book did a great job of showing the struggle and internal reflection that comes from being connected to two very different places, and how we understand our situation. The plot and experiences of the characters drew me in and were well written. I also loved the performance of the narrator - she did an amazing job, complete with accents and emotion that brought the words to life.

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Loved this BOOK!

I loved the narrator. I felt like she was the main character and I was right there with her in her journey. Brilliant book in understanding differences, life decisions and personal journey.

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  • MJH
  • 02-13-22

Good story about belonging to two cultures

I enjoyed hearing about life as an American who emigrated with her parents from India. It gives an insight into what it might feel like when you don't belong in either country and how there is a need to fit in.

I didn't like the voice of the narrator. I found it whiny and this was irritating.

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  • A.S.
  • 02-08-22

Essential read re race and culture.

Wow, I have experienced exactly the situations the author describes regarding belonging, otherness and self acceptance as a non-white in a white country, where white people dominate all high paying career fields.

This is a book I can recommend to my white friends as a way of understanding that, without feeling judged or attacked.
This is a novel, not a self help book or a factual account. But I felt the story did a brilliant job or sharing fact and fiction; getting lost in the tale of family, and duty with the backdrop of Western Indian.

If you fall into a majority racial group in your country, this will be a thought provoking and educational piece of reading. Light enough, but impactful.

If you fall into a minority racial group in your country, this will be all sorts of relatable. Regardless of your heritage, the parallels are strong.