Madras on Rainy Days

Madras on Rainy Days

by Samina Ali
2.8 5

Paperback(First Edition)

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Madras on Rainy Days by Samina Ali

"A lyrical debut" (Asian Week) exploring the dilemma confronting Layla, a second generation Indian-American Muslim. As a dutiful Muslim daughter and an independent young American, Layla is torn between clashing identities. Reluctantly agreeing to her parents' wish for her to leave America and submit to an arranged marriage, Layla enters into the closed world of tradition and ritual as the wedding preparations get underway in Hyderabad. Set against a background of rising Hindu-Muslim violence, and taboo questions of sexuality, Samina Ali presents the complexities of life behind the chador, and the story of a marriage where no one is what they seem. In the words of the San Francisco Chronicle, Madras on Rainy Days introduces an "abundantly talented new voice."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312423308
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 01/01/2005
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Samina Ali was born in Hyderabad, India, and raised both in India and the US. She received her MFA from the University of Oregon. Madras On Rainy Days is her debut novel.

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Madras on Rainy Days: A Novel 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
TwistOfFaith More than 1 year ago
One star only because zero is not an option. The book is completely bipolar with the main character and her arranged-marriage husband loving one another one moment and silent treatment and avoidance the next. The author make one huge, messy, unappealing soup out of every little lament potentially faced by a Shia family living in the Purana Shaher in Hyderabad. The main character is unlikable, one cannot root for her, mainly because she is stupid. The characters are ridiculous. The father is grotesquely abusive, hitting his daughter from the age of 2 (!), taking on a second wife (divorced in the USA but polygamous in India), and his occupation? Heart surgeon! Wonder what med school he went to? Char Minar University? The sex that is depicted is gross. In the end the main character, Layla, is kept a prisoner in her husband's family's home. This husband of hers wants desperately to come to the USA. And stupid Layla doesn't realize that returning to America as quickly as possible, with her tongue flicking husband in tow, is her key to freedom from this deportation-ready prisoner. His utterances of "baby" are really kind of creepy and comical, especially when he goes from hating Layla one minute to "baby, baby" the next. The loser of a story reads as if the author took about four different drafts and combined into one draft. Still a draft. Who thought this mess was ready to go to press? Never reading another book by the author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love books about England and about the Indian culture. While this was not my favorite, I continue to find it interesting that some people can withstand much while others weaken and disappoint. I was sorry for the dad who loved his wife but could not compete with another culture or with an adolescent memory of the past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is from one extreme to another, the author is tried to create a soap opera. The book first starts off with Shatan (Satan) possessing a young girl which describes the superstition in the desi culture, and ends with bizarre westernized example of corruption, which any Indian family would frown upon. The book was shocking and dissapointing. If you want a more meaningful and positive read, try these books: the Namesake, Matrimonial Purposes, Unknown Errors of our lives, Arranged Marriage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While the author does a fantastic job bringing the atmosphere of an Indian Muslim wedding to life, the characters are either weakly developed or completely unbelieveable. The plot is disjointed, and the gang violence scenes at the end as a way of facilitating the character's growth (i.e. Sameer becomes less selfish) do not work because aside from quick mention earlier in the novel, this religious conflict is not a threat earlier on. Layla, who is supposed to have spent half of her life (6 months of every year) in the US and has spent some time at college, is spineless and otherwise invisible. I can't image anyone, no matter how 'guarded', could spend that much time here and still have no opinions of her own and be that dependent on her husband's affections for her own sense of self. Furthermore, it is greatly disappointing that the author seems to have included nearly every stereotype about how horrible it is to be a muslim woman into this novel. There is the quickie divorce, the beating, the veiling, the having to obey your husband, the threat of murder upon damaging the family's honor, and of course, the arranged marriage to the horrible (or somehow unsuitable) man. Even the ending is weak, where Layla supposedly gets freedom from her husband and refers to her body as her own and no one else's, because it is not built on any foundation. She never claims to even WANT that freedom. If we are to believe her life has been as bad as we are told, how can this freedom possibly last...or even be real? While I believe this book will sell because arab/muslim women are a hot topic right now, I do not believe it has much merit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I personally would recommed this book to anyone who is interested in cross cultural battles faced by this generation. Layla on one hand wants to live life with freedom and on the other hand is bound by customs and traditions. This book not only gives us an insight into the inner turmoils a girl could go through but also makes us aware that as girls we are ready to go to any extent to live up to the traditions and cultural standards set by our ancestors & elders.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book had me riveted. The story, the style of writing, the whole flow of incidents. The ever changing scenes and the myriad of emotions was a colorful kaleidoscope and yet it did not confuse. A new world was opened to me, a new India, a part I never knew about. What happened to Henna - was too much to digest politely, too real, too sudden and wasteful. And yet we know that these incidents - lone incidents that people read in newspapers and see flashing on TV - incidents that happen to other people - do happen all the time. The striking thing about the book was that it was so honest. Every character was human, one isn't sure whom to love and whom to hate, Zeba, Nafisa, Layla herself and even Sameer. Somehow one could see each side of the story, somehow in the end we know they were bound to do what they did, that it could not have been any different. The only people that is difficult to understand, the only people who aren't forgivable are Layla's parents. They did fail her miserably. We too, like most people, like to be blind, to see, what we want to see and when truths are put in front of us, we flinch. We flinch when we think of the bird fluttering to her death, of the lamb to be sacrificed, of Henna's baby cut open. Layla was unflinchingly honest, about everything, and we, like the very women in the book, feel like saying, 'Why is she doing this', 'Why is she raking it up', ' Why can't she let it be ', 'Why can't she accept?'. It makes us uncomfortable. These questions, and worse, the answers. I admit that there are many wonderful things that the author can write about, the diverse cultures and life in India and the many happy truths that is apparent in everyday life, but the truths in this book exist too, side by side and I thank the author for weaving these truths into a rich and admirable tapestry.