Thursday, August 1, 2019
America for Beginners: A Novel by Leah Franqui
Recalling contemporary classics such as Americanah, Behold the Dreamers, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances.
Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkata to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival’s husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly—heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life.
Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company’s indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi—a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream—it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pival’s guide is the company’s new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year—and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty’s sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she’s along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week “working” vacation traveling across America be?
Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son—and her hopes of a reunion with him—are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Pival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America—and themselves—in different and profound new ways.
A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren’t always the ones we seek.
What a book! I absolutely LOVED Leah Franqui's debut novel, America for Beginners. I loved the title and the book's cover, too. The story itself was emotional, delightful, and such a treat to read. I would highly recommend this one to everyone looking for their next great summer read.
As for the story, well, its about a woman name Pival. She's 60, widowed, and wealthy. And, she's booked a cross-country journey in America. Yep, she's finally leaving India and doing something for herself. Except, she's also looking for someone over in America. She's searching for her son, Rahi. He told his parents he was gay and was cut off from them. Her husband told her that their son died. With no valid proof of her son's death, Pival has decided to take this trip to America in the hopes of finding out what really happened to Rahi. Along the way, she finds herself exploring a new country, befriending strangers, and discovering eye-opening truths about herself. America for Beginners is funny, fascinating, and such a great story to get lost in.
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: America for Beginners