Imaginary Men [NOOK Book]

Overview

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Lina Ray has a knack for pairing up perfect couples as a professional matchmaker in San Francisco, but her well-meaning, highly traditional Indian family wants her to get married. When her Auntie Kiki introduces Lina to the bachelor from hell at her sister's wedding...
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Imaginary Men

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Overview

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Lina Ray has a knack for pairing up perfect couples as a professional matchmaker in San Francisco, but her well-meaning, highly traditional Indian family wants her to get married. When her Auntie Kiki introduces Lina to the bachelor from hell at her sister's wedding in India, Lina panics and blurts out, "I'm engaged!" Because what's the harm in a little lie?

Who's sari now?

Lina scrambles to find a real fiancé because Auntie Kiki will be coming to America soon to approve the match. But date after disastrous date gets her no closer to her prince -- until an actual prince arrives on her doorstep. Lina hasn't been able to stop fantasizing about traditional but dashing Raja Prasad since she met him in India. In fact, her imaginary fiancé has begun to resemble him! Now Raja is in San Francisco and wants Lina to find a suitable bride for his brother. Though they live oceans apart, Lina longs to bridge the gap. But when her fantastic fib catches up with her, life is suddenly like a Bollywood flick gone horribly wrong. Lina may have an over-developed fantasy life, but she certainly never imagined things would turn out like this!
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A desperate lie leads to true love in Banerjee's predictable but fun debut. At the Kolkata, India, wedding of her younger sister, Indian-American matchmaker Lina, who lives in San Francisco, gets so fed up with her great-aunt's talk of arranged marriages that she tells everyone she's already engaged. Too bad Lina isn't even dating anyone, much less the rich, cosmopolitan fellow named Raja she claims as her fiance (she invents him, based on the real Raja Presad, a prince she met at her sister's wedding). In what becomes a Bridget Jones's Diary meets Monsoon Wedding-style escapade, Lina must find the Mr. Right she's supposed to already have. Enter a series of humorously awful first-and-last dates. When the real Prince Raja drops by, seeking a match for his brother, Lina's day job takes a turn for the personal. Is it possible that Raja could actually be the One? Could Lina's California lifestyle ever meld with that of a wealthy Indian prince? Besides, with his home in India and antiquated views on women, Raja is hardly interested in Lina as his real-life betrothed or is he? Of course he is! Banerjee's prose is workmanlike, but at least her narrator isn't afflicted with the logorrhea so many other chick-lit heroines suffer from, which makes this a quick, enjoyable read. Agent, Winifred Golden. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Professional matchmaker Lina's loving Bengali family wants to see her married off-and soon. The problem is, she hasn't yet gotten over her boyfriend's tragic death two years earlier. Unwittingly, she gets herself into trouble at her sister's wedding in India, where she blurts out that she is already engaged to a mystery man in order to deflect her aunt's badgering. When she returns home to San Francisco, she gets into the matchmaking business for herself, but never sees the "shimmering thread" of romance she is famous for recognizing in other meant-to-be couples. Instead, she fantasizes about Raja, a prince she met at the wedding, but fears he may be looking for a more traditional Indian wife. When the family comes together for her father's birthday and everyone wants to meet her imaginary fiance, Lina must finally get a grip on reality. This contemporary romance by Banerjee (Maya Running) is a light, romantic tale with an authentic ethnic twist. Purchase for libraries with a strong Indian population or where romance is popular.-Rebecca Vnuk, River Forest P.L., IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lina Ray's future takes an unexpected turn when she applies her matchmaking talents to her own love life. Debut novelist Banerjee begins by sweeping the reader off to an exotic wedding in Kolkata, India, which also happens to be her birthplace. Lina, a Bengali-American professional matchmaker, was responsible for introducing the happy couple, her younger sister and the "Indian Johnny Depp." Instead of celebrating the union, concerned relatives commit themselves to finding a groom for Lina (at 29, Lina is something of a spinster in India). Lina's parents immigrated to America in search of opportunity, but the family still clings to the tradition of arranged marriage. Feeling pressured, Lina tells an enormous lie-she's already engaged to the perfect man. It's a fun plot twist, but the author spends too little time developing the characters before introducing it. While her family celebrates the "engagement" and begins to plan the wedding, Lina scrambles to undo her deception by finding a fiance. As Lina scans client files for potential husbands, a handsome complication walks into her life. Raja, a member of India's royalty, needs Lina to find a suitable match for his brother. While Raja and Lina team up to arrange this union, unexpected sparks fly. The trouble is Raja is spoken for back in India. Does love stand a chance? Banerjee takes us back to India where Lina and Raja must decide between pleasing their families and finding individual happiness. The insights into Bengali culture are interesting, but the writing lacks nuance and the action proceeds at an uneven pace.
From the Publisher
"A rare, wonderful novel that breaks new ground yet celebrates the most classic theme in literature — the passion, pain, and unadulterated humor of finding a mate."
— Susan Wiggs

"Insightful and delightful."
— Jayne Ann Krentz

"Enchanting."
— Bharti Kirchner

"Fresh and highly entertaining." — Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439184547
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 609,950
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Anjali Banerjee was born in Kolkata, India, and grew up in Canada and California. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Visit her website at www.anjalibanerjee.com.
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Read an Excerpt

Imaginary Men


By Anjali Banerjee

Downtown Press

Copyright © 2005 Anjali Banerjee
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1416509437

Chapter One

I'm allergic to India.

I snort and sniff through my sister Durga's wedding, my eyes watering from Kolkata pollution, not because Durga is marrying the Bengali version of Johnny Depp. Not because I'm the eldest sister, twenty-nine and still single.

Sweat seeps through my choli shirt, and in this bright turquoise sari, I feel like a giant blueberry. I stand squished among dozens of relatives in an Alipore courtyard at the city's south end. This is Auntie Kiki's home, a two-story mansion in the British colonial style. A hundred guests dressed to the hilt, the women in saris, the men in traditional dhoti punjabis, long-sleeved silk shirts with loose trousers. A few bachelors prowl in ill-fitting suits, hair slicked back, cell phones plastered to their ears. I keep my gaze averted. I won't talk to any of these geeks.

Bengali Brahmin weddings often last for days, but Durga's ceremony is Brahmo Samaj, a progressive, secular form of Hinduism that rejects the caste system, child marriages, and the worship of idols. I thank my great-grandparents for embracing the Brahmo Samaj, or I'd be yawning through a thousand rituals.

The scents of coconut oil and sandalwood incense fill the air. Through the crowd, I glimpse my parents sitting near the dais. Onstage, the happy couple exchange garlands as the acharya, the priest, chants in Sanskrit. The groom wears a cream-colored punjabi shirt and dhoti threaded with gold. Durga is a vision in the red bride's sari, red and white bangles, a heavy gold ring through her nose. Red dye, alta, stains her fingers and toes. Black kohl rims her eyes, making her resemble the great Hindu goddess Durga, after whom she was named. She gazes demurely at her feet and pretends to be a shy virgin.

Beside me, Auntie Kiki, all gray hair, uneven yellow teeth, and smiles, lets out a loud sigh and elbows me. "Ah, Lina, you're next, nah? Big Bengali wedding?" She winks, and I wonder, in mild horror, what she has planned.

"I don't know, Auntie. I'm not ready." Men have been nothing but trouble for me, but she won't understand.

"Oh, Vishnu! Nathu dead two years, and still you're not ready?"

"There aren't any good bachelors in California."

She pats my cheek. "You're nearly thirty now. Hadn't you better stop being so picky-choosy?"

"I'm not picky and choosy. I'm discerning."

"Bhalo. Good." She nods her head sideways in the Indian style. "We'll find you a husband tonight. I know this."

My insides turn somersaults. What does she mean, I know this? What secrets hide in the folds of her sari? Auntie's actually my great-aunt, the eldest of my father's aunts. Her youngest sister, my father's mother, died just before I was born. Because she's the eldest of the female relatives, Auntie Kiki's decisions carry the weight of a queen's formal decree.

"What if I don't want to marry an Indian?" I say.

"What's the matter with Indians? Nathu was Punjabi, nah?"

"Nathu grew up in America. He learned to take out the garbage and make his own bed. He wasn't like traditional Indian men who expect their wives to do everything for them."

"Perhaps it wouldn't hurt you to learn a little tradition." Auntie's lips tighten into a thin line, pulling her cheeks inward.

I'm up to my push-up bra in tradition tonight, I want to say, but I grit my teeth and smile. I know only a few words of Bengali, and I don't practice Hinduism. What would a true Bengali man think of me? He'd label me damaged goods, spoiled by American decadence.

I glance around the courtyard until I spot my other sister, Kali. I frantically wave at her. Please, rescue me from Auntie.

Kali grins and rushes over. "Doesn't Durga look smashing?"

"She's beautiful," I say.

"When I find the perfect shagadelic guy, I want a true desi wedding, Indian in every way." Loosely translated, desi means "of or from my country" in Hindi. Kali's obsessed with the homeland, but she also loves Austin Powers, Man of Mystery. She's young, blooming like a lotus flower. Not that I'm chopped liver, but I don't dress the way she does, all cleavage in a tight-fitting choli shirt. She manages to make a sari look like lingerie. I prefer not to draw attention to myself at these shindigs.

I whisper in her ear. "Aren't you seeing a practicing Catholic?"

"I can shop around if I want." She gives me a sly look. "I met someone tonight. His name is Dev. He has mojo. I think I'm in love."

"Kali has no problem meeting bachelors," Auntie says. "It's Lina we must worry about. She's a matchmaker in California and still can't find herself a suitable husband."

"Maybe I'm not looking!"

"We've all been waiting for you to find someone," Kali cuts in. "You're so good at it. You hooked up Durga with her hubby, didn't you?"

"That's different. It's easy to match up other couples." I specialize in hooking up American-born Indian women with their princes. I have an uncanny ability to see connections between potential mates, like silvery threads. But I haven't seen a thread between any man and me since Nathu, and I don't expect to see one tonight.

"Settle down, and you'll not be all the time running around and working," Auntie says. "Why are you so determined to remain unmarried?"

"I'm not determined. I'm busy. Besides, I like working." I sigh in exasperation. She's talking to Kali about how they have to help poor Lina, the elder sister.

I'm a hopeless case and a disappointment to my family. So what keeps drawing me back to India? Maybe a touch of the exotic, I think as a servant lights flaming torches around the perimeter of the courtyard. Maybe the humid summer climate on the Bay of Bengal. Maybe my Inner Princess expects a mythical prince to gallop through the smog and sweep me off my feet.

Auntie points into the shadows. "There, Lina. Look. Did you meet Nikhil Ghose when you were in Kolkata last?"

"Who?"

One of the suit-clad bachelors appears out of nowhere, grabs my hand, and squeezes. "Lina Ray? What a complete pleasure to make your acquaintance."

"Likewise, I'm sure." I pull my hand away as politely as possible. I'm staring into the hopeful face of Pee-wee Herman on steroids.

A large woman in a gold sari, stomach folds rippling, barrels toward us. In India, belly rolls are still considered sexy. "Nikhil, son, where are you off to?" she shouts.

Auntie grips my elbow. "This is my accomplished great-niece, Lina. Lina, Nikhil Ghose."

I stiffen, dust stinging my eyes.

"Pleased, pleased," Mrs. Ghose says, nodding sideways.

"Lina plays classical piano and cooks very well," Auntie says. "She's here from America for short time, nah? You must come round for tea."

Dumbfounded, I stare at Auntie. Cooks very well? I can pour milk over Lucky Charms, but Indian food is a mystery. And piano? This is a conspiracy. Auntie must've spoken to Ma, and now they're desperate to arrange my marriage. I'll never agree to a match with Pee-wee. He makes me want to drown myself in the Ganges River.

His mother gives me the once-over, and her lips turn down in a sneer. "She's a bit thin, nah? Living in America all this time? Our good girls go thin and wild in America."

"I wasn't raised by wolves," I say.

"She's witty as well," Auntie says.

"I like my women wild." Nikhil gives me a disgusting wink. He even has Pee-wee's voice.

I focus on the ground. He probably thinks I like him and I'm looking down out of shyness.

"Lina's a good girl," Auntie Kiki says. "Fitness craze in America has made her thin. Everyone wants to be slim there. They are doing these exercises, that exercises, all the time jogging, aerobics, spinning, Pirates -- "

"Pilates, Auntie," Kali says, smiling. She's going along with this farce.

Nikhil's mother stares hard at me. Gradually, her lips lift at the corners. "Well, we're pleased, of course, that you're Sahadev Ray's daughter. Doctor Ray's daughter."

"Thank you, Mrs. Ghose." Darn, she traced my lineage. For once, I wish I were a sweeper's child. These things matter in India -- whose daughter you are, whose granddaughter you are, who your second cousin twice removed is. Women have goals and dreams, but they often keep them secret, tucked away in their underwear drawers to be worn beneath their clothes, necessary but unseen.

"We shall come for tea, of course. Very pleased." Nikhil's mother is all impressed, my thinness and Americanness forgotten. She turns to Auntie. "The Rays are staying with you? When shall I bring Nikhil?"

He steps closer until I smell his curry breath.

"Tomorrow?" Auntie says.

No, not tomorrow. Not any day. Get me out of here. I'll sit on the curb, contemplate the sewer system, anything but listen to Auntie set me up with Pee-wee. I force a smile and hope the sweat doesn't show through the armpits of my choli.

"We'll still be here tomorrow," Kali says. I glare at her.

Nikhil's mother smiles. "Tomorrow shall suit us well. Lina, Nikhil is successful in business, nah? Manufacturing and import-export. He'll give you grand tour of the factories."

"Just the two of us." Nikhil spears me with a lecherous gaze.

My shoulders tense up. "Thanks, but I won't have time. Lots of relatives to visit -- "

"Lina!" Auntie shouts. "We'll find the time."

"I really don't think -- "

"We'll arrange, nah?" Nikhil's mother resumes reciting his many glowing attributes.

He stands so close, his hot breath sears my cheek. Sweat beads on my brow, and nausea builds in my throat. The Jaws theme plays in my mind, and then the answer glows like a rainbow. Of course, of course.

"I have some news," I say.

"News? What is this?" Auntie asks. Her lips tighten.

All goes quiet.

I give a knowing smile. "I was waiting for the right moment, but maybe -- " I pause for effect.

Nikhil steps back. His mother blinks.

"What? What's this news?" Auntie's eyes widen. "No, you're not. You're...already engaged?"

I nod, although it's a big, fat lie.

"Oh, Vishnu! Why did your Ma not say?" Auntie shouts. "All this time we were arranging your engagement to Nikhil!"

Arranging my engagement? Before I'd even met him? This is worse than I thought.

Tongues cluck and gossip flies. Kali narrows her gaze. Perhaps she sees through my deception. "Is this true?"

"Yes, it's true. My fiance is quite high up." I gaze into the dusty, darkening sky. "Accomplished. Rich. Very handsome. Gentlemanly and a bit dangerous." I'm already beginning to picture him in my mind. He looks a lot like Nathu.

Oohs and aahs.

"Is he Indian?" Kali asks a question the others wouldn't bother to pose. They just assume.

"In a manner of speaking," I say. "He's the perfect man."

"What does he look like?"

"Tall. Dark, wavy hair. The most beautiful eyes -- he's a dream."

"Sounds a little too perfect," Kali says.

"Why is this man not with you?" Nikhil snaps.

"He travels all the time. Here and there. Riding elephants into the jungle, touring his palaces, several properties -- "

"How can you stand being away from him?" Kali asks. "Don't you miss him terribly?"

"Like the devil." I sigh. "But he sends postcards."

"E-mails? Love letters?"

I nod. "He embeds photos and poems in the messages -- "

"All this was happening, and you didn't tell?"

I smile. "Isn't the Internet amazing?"

Mrs. Ghose huffs. "Come, Nikhil." She grabs his arm and yanks him away in search of another victim. My shoulders relax.

Auntie nearly swoons. "Congratulations are in order. We must summon your parents -- "

"They don't know yet," I say quickly. "It's a love match, not arranged."

"They don't know?" Auntie's eyebrows rise, and her cheeks puff outward.

"Things are different in America. Parents don't chaperone their daughters on dates."

"Ah, yes, this can't be helped. All the same, this is good news. Marriage is marriage. Is it an auspicious match?"

"I believe the stars are aligned just right."

"Who is he? What's his name?" Kali asks.

"It's a surprise. He'll be traveling for...a few more weeks." With every lie, I dig a deeper hole. I might as well climb in and let the dirt fall on top of me.

Auntie clasps and unclasps her hands. She's in planning mode. "I must meet this man and make sure he is more suitable than Nikhil."

"More suitable? I already know he is -- "

"I must know!"

"Of course, Auntie. Your approval will honor me."

She smoothes her ruffled sari. "Bhalo. You'll bring him to India?"

Bring him? "He has business in San Francisco."

How will I maintain this charade? Soon I'll have to say Mr. Perfect and I have split up. He found a girlfriend in Germany or Italy, on his travels. He'll go when I want him to go. But I can't marry Pee-wee. What to do?

"You'll bring him to India for a Bengali wedding, of course," Auntie says.

"When the time comes." No matter how long we've lived in America, we must return to India for this rite of passage.

I slip into the house to the bathroom. I lean my elbows on the sink and focus on breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. I can't afford to have a panic attack here, in a Kolkata bathroom with a concrete floor and old-fashioned toilet with a chain hanging down.

I gaze into the mirror, at the black kohl smudged beneath my eyes. My hair, cut to my shoulders, is frizzy in the humidity.

"Lina, Lina, on the wall," I say to my reflection, then let out a crazy giggle. "Who's the biggest liar of them all?"

Copyright 2005 by Anjali Banerjee



Continues...


Excerpted from Imaginary Men by Anjali Banerjee Copyright © 2005 by Anjali Banerjee.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Introduction

Reading Group Guide
  1. In Imaginary Men, matchmaker and protagonist Lina Ray is an Indian-American woman who seems to embrace American culture more than her traditional Indian culture. In fact, our narrator's first words are: "I'm allergic to India." What are her reasons for rejecting the exotic Indian lifestyle?
  1. In another instance, Lina speaks somewhat fondly of India saying, "Yet my soul connects to this strange, colorful, hot, smelly, magical country, even though I don't remember it." Discuss this conflict of sorts between the enchantment of her birth country, India, and "the easy life in America." How does this conflict become more complex once Raja Prasad enters the picture?
  2. Everyone in Lina's family seems to be conspiring to marry her off, especially since she's the oldest of the three sisters. Why do you think such an emphasis is placed on marriage? Are there similarities between American and Indian attitudes toward women and marriage? How does Lina feel about arranged marriages? Her family?
  3. As a matchmaker, Lina claims she has "an uncanny ability to see connections between potential mates, like silvery threads" (page 5). Discuss the irony of a matchmaker who cannot find a suitable match for herself.
  4. The caste system in India separates members of its society based on class. Typically the class that you are born into is the class in which you will remain until death. So when Kali reveals to Lina that her crush, Dev, and his brother Raja are princes, Lina seems reserved. She warns her sister not to fall so quickly, stating that "Princes marry princesses, Kali. Not thedaughters of doctors" (page 55). Nevertheless, Lina, the daughter of a doctor, does in fact woo Prince Raja. Should class be a deciding factor regarding matters of the heart? How might caste issues come into play if Lina and Raja eventually marry?
  5. Even after two years there appears to be a considerable sense of loss regarding Lina's deceased fiancè, Nathu. She dreams of him, has nightmares, reminisces, even conjures up a ghost-like invisible man who resembles Nathu. Her friend Harry tells her that memory of Nathu is ruling her. What do you think? What issues are keeping Lina from finding a partner?
  6. The imaginary man that Lina is supposedly engaged to becomes very vivid in her mind. He talks to her while she gets ready for dates and while she's on dates and even goes to bed with her. What purpose does this "imaginary man" serve for Lina? What does she eventually discover about herself?
  7. Raja Prasad presents himself in Lina's life in America, claiming the desire to find a wife for his younger brother, Dev. Yet considering how Lina and Raja spend their time, the search seems to be a ploy. What do you make of Raja's sudden appearance? Discuss his motivations and intentions. Is Lina convinced by Raja's story? Explain.
  8. Lina describes Raja as "traditional," which in the Indian sense almost likens him to a sexist. She sees herself as "an independent American woman" (page 111), but in spite of herself seems to be falling for Raja. Do you think Raja and Lina are a good match? Why or why not?
  9. The story ends in India with Raja meeting Lina at a busy train station in Kolkata. Although she has deep ties to America, she admits that while in India, "I'm not sure where this journey will end." How do you foresee Raja and Lina's future? Do you think she'll end up living with Raja and his family in India? Or will Raja return to San Francisco?
Enhance Your Book Club:
  1. Get a feel for the city of Kolkata, one of the settings in the book. Visit this website: http://www.bangalinet.com/calcutta.htm. Browse through pictures. Read up on the history of Kolkata, the city that was once known as Calcutta.
  2. If you are the host, give everyone a recipe for samosas. Better yet, serve them at the meeting. You can find a great recipe here: http://www.outofthefryingpan.com/recipes/samosas.shtml
  3. Think you have the matchmaker touch? Take a matchmaker survey: http://www.greatboyfriends.com/survey.php#matchmaker

Anjali Banerjee was born in Kolkata, India, and grew up in Canada and California. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Visit her website at www.anjalibanerjee.com.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide
  1. In Imaginary Men, matchmaker and protagonist Lina Ray is an Indian-American woman who seems to embrace American culture more than her traditional Indian culture. In fact, our narrator's first words are: "I'm allergic to India." What are her reasons for rejecting the exotic Indian lifestyle?
  2. In another instance, Lina speaks somewhat fondly of India saying, "Yet my soul connects to this strange, colorful, hot, smelly, magical country, even though I don't remember it." Discuss this conflict of sorts between the enchantment of her birth country, India, and "the easy life in America." How does this conflict become more complex once Raja Prasad enters the picture?
  3. Everyone in Lina's family seems to be conspiring to marry her off, especially since she's the oldest of the three sisters. Why do you think such an emphasis is placed on marriage? Are there similarities between American and Indian attitudes toward women and marriage? How does Lina feel about arranged marriages? Her family?
  4. As a matchmaker, Lina claims she has "an uncanny ability to see connections between potential mates, like silvery threads" (page 5). Discuss the irony of a matchmaker who cannot find a suitable match for herself.
  5. The caste system in India separates members of its society based on class. Typically the class that you are born into is the class in which you will remain until death. So when Kali reveals to Lina that her crush, Dev, and his brother Raja are princes, Lina seems reserved. She warns her sister not to fall so quickly, stating that "Princes marry princesses, Kali. Not the daughters of doctors" (page 55). Nevertheless, Lina, the daughter of a doctor, does in fact woo Prince Raja. Should class be a deciding factor regarding matters of the heart? How might caste issues come into play if Lina and Raja eventually marry?
  6. Even after two years there appears to be a considerable sense of loss regarding Lina's deceased fiancè, Nathu. She dreams of him, has nightmares, reminisces, even conjures up a ghost-like invisible man who resembles Nathu. Her friend Harry tells her that memory of Nathu is ruling her. What do you think? What issues are keeping Lina from finding a partner?
  7. The imaginary man that Lina is supposedly engaged to becomes very vivid in her mind. He talks to her while she gets ready for dates and while she's on dates and even goes to bed with her. What purpose does this "imaginary man" serve for Lina? What does she eventually discover about herself?
  8. Raja Prasad presents himself in Lina's life in America, claiming the desire to find a wife for his younger brother, Dev. Yet considering how Lina and Raja spend their time, the search seems to be a ploy. What do you make of Raja's sudden appearance? Discuss his motivations and intentions. Is Lina convinced by Raja's story? Explain.
  9. Lina describes Raja as "traditional," which in the Indian sense almost likens him to a sexist. She sees herself as "an independent American woman" (page 111), but in spite of herself seems to be falling for Raja. Do you think Raja and Lina are a good match? Why or why not?
  10. The story ends in India with Raja meeting Lina at a busy train station in Kolkata. Although she has deep ties to America, she admits that while in India, "I'm not sure where this journey will end." How do you foresee Raja and Lina's future? Do you think she'll end up living with Raja and his family in India? Or will Raja return to San Francisco?
Enhance Your Book Club:
  1. Get a feel for the city of Kolkata, one of the settings in the book. Visit this website: http://www.bangalinet.com/calcutta.htm. Browse through pictures. Read up on the history of Kolkata, the city that was once known as Calcutta.
  2. If you are the host, give everyone a recipe for samosas. Better yet, serve them at the meeting. You can find a great recipe here: http://www.outofthefryingpan.com/recipes/samosas.shtml
  3. Think you have the matchmaker touch? Take a matchmaker survey: http://www.greatboyfriends.com/survey.php#matchmaker
Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2006

    Funny and quick read

    If you are looking for a good book to take on a trip or want a fun book that will keep you interested , this is a good one! I really enjoyed this book and could relate to what the main character was going through!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A refreshing chick lit tale

    San Franciscan professional matchmaker Lina Ray travels to Kolkata, India to attend her younger sister¿s wedding. At the gala her matchmaking Auntie Kiki tries to arrange a match with Nikhil Ghoge, an Indian version of Pee Wee Herman. Desperate Lina makes up a fiancé living in America. She flees the gala only to run into Raja Prasad. They talk, but she concludes he is old line chauvinistic Indian so she wants nothing to do with him though he gives her a star galaxy granite stone as a reminder of their brief connection.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, The next day Niki takes her niece to meet horoscope reader Pandit Parsus who says the fiancé seems unreal and that Niki needs to go to California to see if he is worthy of joining their family. As Lina¿s lies multiply, Raja hires her to find a spouse for his brother while he makes the case that they are right for another. Lina sees the ¿silvery threads¿ that she knows means they are right for each other, but first she must overcome the death over two years ago of her fiancé Nathu and her scorn of her Bengali heritage.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, IMAGINARY MEN is a refreshing chick lit tale starring a wonderful second generation American struggling between her India heritage and her San Francisco lifestyle. Lina and her family members provide insight into the Brachmo Samaj Hinduism within the humorous family drama. Learning first hand how a simple fib can gain a goliath life of its own, Lina is a fabulous lead character who anchors IMAGINARY MEN as she compounds her lie in comedic ways. Fans will want sequels from author Anjali Banjerjee.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2007

    Waste of time

    I really didn't like this book at all. It's very poorly written, it's choppy and random. Also, the story didn't make any sense. It's a waste of money and waste of time I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2007

    Ok but not great

    I thought the book was cute at times but it was a big cliche throughout most of the book. The author writes such sentences to describe others as: asian buying bokchoi and bamboo plants, indian men looking for arranged marriage, all men leave, gay mothers wearing a t-shirt to their wedding 'proud parent of gay', americanized indians use the word f-word to their parents. It was such a condscending observations. There were parts that were show-offish: Raja pulls up in a lexus, and takes her to the best restaurant in town (he's visiting the US so did he rent the lexus?!!!). I read about the Anjali Banjaree's biography, it is sooo interesting. Banjaree's father is bengali indian, and her mother is part british/part indian. Then her family adopted a Native Indian girl (Cree indian). Then her parents got divorced and his dad married an italian woman so she has half-italian and half indian siblings. That is so interesting why doesnt she write about her experiences, that actually would be more exciting to read that this book. I will try to read Invisible lives by Banjaree to see if it is better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2007

    Not Good

    I have read quite a bit of Indian Chick Lit and this one was just plain not very good. The story was a bit foolish with the main character being a matchmaker and she met her love interest so early in the story we were not even invested in her. There are much better ones out there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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