Charming and funny yet acutely observed, this is what Jane Austen might write if she set a story in a contemporary Indian marriage bureau.
Farahad Zama moved to London in 1990 from Vizag in India, where the novel is set. He is a father of two, and he works for an investment bank.
A thriving arranged-marriage bureau in contemporary India resides at the heart of Zama's charming debut. The customers who visit Mr. Ali's bureau-a project he began in retirement to pass the time-are mostly pragmatists: they look for mates based on height, complexion, caste, economic status and religion. As business picks up, Mr. Ali, a Muslim, takes on a young assistant, Aruna, a poor Hindu girl, who helps him formulate happy unions. While the bureau prospers, Mr. Ali and his wife contend with their headstrong son, a human rights advocate who worries them constantly, and Aruna faces her dismal home life and a handsome young client who may want more from her than lists of potential matches. Zama's strength is in showing the love that makes the matchmaking system possible, looking at the reciprocity, trust and devotion that underlie marriage. Though the dialogue can tend toward the wooden and some problems work out too tidily, Zama's delightful world of mid-morning tea breaks, afternoon siestas, picnics in mango groves and meddlesome aunties is a pleasant place to hang out. (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Mr. Ali, a retiree in a city in southern India, decides he needs something to do and opens a marriage bureau. He is soon so swamped with business that to assist him he hires a young woman named Aruna, whose Brahmin family has fallen on hard times. Zama is an admirer of Jane Austen, and though his debut does not exactly parallel one of her novels, there is a Mr. Darcy figure in the person of a handsome young doctor. The author also touches upon such pertinent topics as the caste system, the perils of political protest in India, and how the ordinary Indian is at the mercy of corrupt officials. But mostly this is a delightfully exotic love story (to Western readers anyway) with engaging characters and a happy ending. Mainly appealing to readers with some interest in Indian culture and customs.-Leslie Patterson, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, RI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
A writer of charming and breezy prose, Zama pays homage to Jane Austen in a contemporary love story firmly grounded in classic wrangles over family, property and clas s' Emma Hagestadt, INDEPENDENT - ?A witty, affectionate picture of modern India?Kate Saunders, THE TIMES - ** ?If you?re in need of something to chase away the encroaching winter gloom, look no further than this joyous debut?Melissa Katsoulis, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - ** ?A courteous, light read?Catherine Taylor, GUARDIAN - ** ?Charming, warm-hearted and funny, a delightful debut . . . a read treat?