Other Waters by Eleni N. Gage - BOOK REVIEW

2/27/2012 11:22:00 AM

Other Waters by Eleni N. Gage
Title:  Other Waters
Author:  Eleni N. Gage
Publisher:   St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan
Release Date:  February 14, 2012
Hardcover, 352 pages
ISBN 10:     0312658516
ISBN 13:   9780312658519
The Book Depository / Amazon

Goodreads description:

When her grandmother dies in India, a family squabble over property results in a curse that drifts across continents and threatens Maya's life. Or so her father says-- Maya (being a modern woman, an American, and a doctor, for goodness' sake) doesn't believe in curses, Brahman, or otherwise. But when her father suffers a heart attack, her sister miscarries, and her career and relationship both start to falter, Maya starts to worry. A trip back to India with her best friend Heidi, Maya reasons, will be just what's needed to remove the curse, save her family, and to put her own life back in order. Thus begins a journey into Maya's parallel world-- an India filled with loving and annoying relatives, vivid colors, and superstitious customs--a cross-cultural, transcontinental search to for a chance to find real love.

My Take: 

Maya is a second-year psychiatry resident, an Indian-American who is keeping her long-term relationship with her boyfriend Scott a secret from her parents, especially her mother, who wants nothing more than for her to find a nice Indian boy to settle down with.  Her sister Priya married Tariq, who is Indian, but Muslim, and even now, two children later, her mother Seema has still not fully accepted him.

After her grandmother dies in India, her father Ajit, in India to keep an eye on his mom before she died, calls Maya and tells her (somewhat sheepishly, after all, superstitions and curses are not something modern people are supposed to believe in) that Parvati, the woman who lived in Dadyi's home, put a curse on his family.  Not just any curse, either, but a Brahman curse - more powerful than most and one that will supposedly affect the blood.

When bad things start happening to Maya's family, she hopes that a trip back to India for a family wedding with her best friend Heidi will give her the chance to find Parvati and counteract the curse that by now, Maya at least halfway believes in.

For me, this novel got off to a confusing start, but soon smoothed itself out.  I enjoyed the cross-cultural references and the friendship between Maya and Heidi, as well as the true-to-life relationship between Maya and her family.  I found myself quite a bit peeved at Maya for not introducing Scott to her family - after all, they'd been together, off and on, for seven years.  It seemed to me that an intelligent woman of almost thirty should simply square her shoulders up and take any heat that she might get from her family.

The ending kind of just ... ended, but in a way that I didn't fully expect.  Believe it or not, the character that I enjoyed most was Seema, Maya's mother.  She is quietly strong, and in spite of how Maya perceives her throughout most of the book, seems to be the one with the most character and honesty.

If you like a touch of romance mixed with a bit of Bollywood, you will like this book.

QUOTES (from an ARC; may be different in final copy):

. . . she hadn't been able to control any of them.  Mohan, Seema's beloved eldest, her only son, resisted medicine, going into advertising instead, which, to Maya's parents, was akin to renting a hovel and attempting to write the great Indian-American novel. Priya, the pretty daughter, was a doctor, and a real one, not a psychiatrist, but she had married a Muslim and seldom visited the temple anymore.  

Seema said a vegetarian with a leather bag was nothing but a hypocrite, and she had apparently raised two of those, which was quite enough for any family.

You carried all of the people you loved into your present and future, even if just in a small way, Maya realized. 

Writing:  4 out of 5 stars
Plot:  3.5 out of 5 stars
Characters:  3 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion:  3  out 5 stars

BOOK RATING:  3.4  out of 5 stars

BLOGGERS:  Have you reviewed this book? If so, please feel free to leave a link to your review in the comments section; I will also add your link to the body of my review.

About the author

BUY IT:  At Amazon, The Book Depository, through the publisher's website,  and through other on-and-off-line booksellers.

One of my listed titles for the 2012 ARC Reading Challenge (Eclectic Bookshelf)
One of my listed titles for the 2012 ARC Reading Challenge (So Many Books)
One of my listed titles for the 2012 150+ Reading Challenge
Disclosure:  I  received a  complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to post a positive review.

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  1. I enjoyed your comments on Seema and agree that she is an admirable and strong character.

    Here is: My review of Other Waters


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