Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Invitation

The Invitation
Anne Cherian

The Invitation

Genre: Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads): When Vikram invites three of his college friends to his son’s graduation from MIT, they accept out of obligation and curiosity, viewing the party as a twenty-fifth reunion of sorts. Village genius Vikram, now the founder of a lucrative computer company, is having the party against his son’s wishes. Frances and Jay regret accepting:
Frances, a real estate agent, hasn't sold a house in a year; Jay’s middle management job isn't brag worthy; and their daughter is failing the eleventh grade. Lali plans to hide the fact that her once-happy marriage is crumbling because her American husband is discovering his Jewish roots. Each had left UCLA expecting to be successful and have even more successful children. At Vikram’s Newport Beach mansion, the showmanship they anticipate dissolves as each is forced to deal with his or her own problems. The follow-up to A Good Indian Wife, Anne Cherian’s novel resonates with the poignancy of real life colliding with expectations unmet.

Review: I generally enjoy books about other cultures and books about immigrants to the US, so I thought this novel about a group of immigrants from India reuniting in middle age would be right up my alley.  Sadly, I found the characters boring and two dimensional, and too prone to telling lies and relying on one-up-manship for my liking.  The point of view changed frequently and without warning, making it difficult to keep track of which character was which, especially Lali and Frances.  It was interesting to learn about the Catholic Portuguese-descended Goans in India, and some of the immigrant experiences were educational, but over all, this book was hard to get through.  The ending tied up some stories too neatly and left others hanging, so that it didn't help redeem the mediocre middle.

Rating: 2 stars

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