“A timely story about what matters most deeply: our quest for love and acceptance….Jyotsna Sreenivasan’s writing speaks straight to the heart.”
—Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men
And Laughter Fell from the Sky, the enthralling first novel from Jyotsna Sreenivasan, is a stirring contemporary love story about two young Indian-Americans trying to find love and their place in the world, while dealing with the confines and pressures of their culture and their families. A remarkable literary journey that carries the reader from the American heartland to the Pacific Northwest and into the teeming heart of India, And Laughter Fell from the Sky is a magnificent debut by a fresh and exciting new voice, immediately placing Sreenivasan alongside Jhumpa Lahiri, popular author of The Namesake, as an expert chronicler of the Indian-American cultural experience.
|Product dimensions:||5.36(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.81(d)|
About the Author
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Jyotsna Sreenivasan was born and raised in Ohio. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines and she has received literature grants from the Washington, D.C., Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The author of several nonfiction books published by academic presses and the creator of the online Gender Equality Bookstore, she lives in Moscow, Idaho, with her family. This is her first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rasika has a secret life. To her family and friends she is a dutiful Indian daughter, stylish and beautiful with a great career, living at home with her parents and agreeing to an arranged marriage--which for good luck, her horoscope says needs to happen before her looming twenty-sixth birthday. The secret that would shock her family is that she sneaks away on occasion to have brief affairs with unsuitable men, something she vows she will stop once she is married and living the life her parents want her to have. Abhay, a childhood friend of Rasika's younger brother, can't seem to commit to anything after college and lived in a commune following graduation. He is back at home with his parents, working as a temp and taking on assorted dead-end jobs, trying to figure out what to do with his life. Rasika and Abhay reconnect by chance in and find an attraction quickly brewing. It turns to love for Abhay, but Rasika wants to deny her feelings, finding him immature and unsophisticated, plus his caste makes him a choice that her family would never approve of. Will these two lovers be able to find their places in the world and discover the strength to make a lasting relationship? I love a good romance--especially one where there are a lot of obstacles to the couple getting together and Rasika and Abhay certainly have a lot of obstacles. Although I appreciated the storyline right off the bat and the book moves along quickly, going back and forth between the perspective of the two main characters, it took some time for me to connect with Raskia and Abhay. I found them in the beginning to be hard for me to relate to--even somewhat unlikeable at first. The book's setting moves from Kent, Ohio to Portland Oregon to India, and I found myself not fully committed to the book until we reached Portland--where Abhay goes to live and Rasika makes a secret trip to visit. Since The City of Roses is my old hometown, I loved the author's descriptions of the city and some of my favorite places and it was also the point where I started to like the two main characters and the book flowed from there. This book is a well-written look at Indian-American culture and the challenges of wanting to take another path than the one your family expects you to take or even completely laid out for you. A good summer read, not too heavy and good for vacation days and the beach. *Note: I was given a copy of the advance proof of this book by the publisher to review. My opinion and thoughts are however, my own.
Jane Eyre has been a perpetual favorite, but 2012 seems to be the Summer of Edith Wharton. Francesca Segal has written The Innocents, a novel set in modern London and a retelling of Wharton's The Age of Innocence. Claire McMillan modernizes The House of Mirth in The Gilded Age, set in Cleveland. Jyotsna Sreenivasan also took inspiration from The House of Mirth for her debut novel, And Laughter Fell From The Sky, about Indian immigrants trying to maintain their culture and lifestyle in modern Ohio. Rasika is a 25-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants. She is a college graduate, has a good job at a bank, and tries to be everything that her family wants her to be; yet she is unhappy. By chance she runs into Abbay at the Oberlin College campus. Abbay was her younger brother's childhood friend, and she hasn't seen him in awhile. Abbay seems a bit lost, having spent some time at a commune, but he has returned home to his family, hoping to find his place in this world. Running into Rasika rekindles his romantic feelings for her, but she is looking for a successful Indian man to marry, someone of whom her family would approve. Although she is physically attracted to Abbay, he is not someone she would marry. He doesn't have a good career, and not many prospects for one. To the outside world and her family, Rasika appears happy, but she is not. She invites Abbay to meet her at a hotel in Cleveland for a secret rendezvous, where he learns that he is not the only man she has ever invited there. By chance they run into distant family members attending a wedding, and Rasika panics that her family will find out about her affair with Abbay. She ends their relationship before it can begin, and Abbay is disconsolate. Rasiks is living two lives; one in which her family is actively seeking a successful Indian man as her husband, and one in which she makes her own choices. You can feel her agony as the stress is tearing her apart. Abbay declares his love for her, and tells her that she can make her own choices, her parents love her and will understand. Rasika can't disappoint her parents, and allows them to arrange a marriage for her after gossip starts buzzing in the Indian community about Rasika and her relationships with other men. They must marry her off before no respectable man will have her. I learned so much about the Indian culture, from food to dress to the changing caste system. I particularly enjoyed the scenes set in India, and this book has encouraged me to discover more about it. This is a wonderful debut novel, full of heart and soul, familial and romantic love, and the search for happiness. My favorite passage is Abbay speaking to Rasika: "We've both been looking for an ideal. You think your life will be perfect if only you can be the kind of person your parents seem to want. I thought my life would be perfect if only I could find a place on earth that touched the utopia in my imagination. We're both searching for something we've built in our own brains." I happily fell into the world of And Laughter Fell From The Sky, surrendering myself to this Indian immigrant culture about which I knew little. Rasika is such a vivid heroine, and her struggle moved me so. She wants to be a good daughter, but she also wants more for herself. It is something that many immigrants have dealt with for many years, but also something that many young people, not only immigrants, can relate to. I loved how Sreenivasan ma