For the past 6 months I’ve been a resident of Beijing, China. While here, I’ve managed to work through traditional American holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and I’ve ignored the sadness of missing—well, everything. I’ve complained plenty along the way, but I’ve survived and finally, a Chinese holiday has arrived. I get an official paid vacation! This Chinese New Year, the year of the snake, for three weeks I will journey through India. I’m excited about riding elephants and camels, visiting temples, and most importantly seeing the Taj Mahal, one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
All that said, this Tuesday’s Teaser comes from a book I plan to pick up as soon as I finish Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelson. On a side note, a friend of mine is reading the book with me and asked how I like it. I replied, “I’m reading it,” which means it’s not great and it’s not bad. We’ll talk more about it in a future review. So, as I prepare for my trip to India, I thought I’d pick up a book by Indian author Jhumpa Lahiri. Unfortunately, I can’t decide whether to begin The Namesake–I loved the movie and watch it again from time to time–or Interpreter of Maladies, winner of the Pulitizer Prize. Since such is the case, I decided to include both books for Tuesday Teaser:
A member of the staff had found him somehow among the identical convention rooms and handed him a stiff square of stationery. It was only a telephone number, but Shukumar knew it was the hospital. When he returned to Boston it was over. The baby had been born dead. Shoba was lying on a bed, asleep, in a private room so small there was barely enough space to stand beside her, in a wing of the hospital they hadn’t been to on the tour for expectant parents. Her placenta had weakened and she’d had a cesarean, though not quickly enough. The doctor explained that these things happen. He smiled in the kindest way it was possible to smile at people known only professionally. Shoba would be back on her feet in a few weeks. There was nothing to indicate that she would not be able to have children in the future.
It had been after tutoring one day that Ashima’s mother had met her at the door, told her to go straight to the bedroom and prepare herself; a man was waiting to see her. He was the third in as many months. The first had been a widower with four children. The second, a newspaper cartoonist who knew her father, had been hit by a bus in Esplanade and lost his left arm. To her great relief they had both rejected her. She was nineteen, in the middle of her studies, in no rush to be a bride. And so, obediently but without expectation, she had untangled and rebraided her hair, wiped away the kohl that had smudged below her eyes, patted some Cuticura powder from a velvet puff onto her skin. The sheer parrot green sari she pleated and tucked into her petticoat had been laid out for her on the bed by her mother.
Happy reading, y’all!