No One Can Pronounce My Name

No One Can Pronounce My Name

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"In a suburb outside Cleveland, a community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. For some, America is a bewildering and alienating place where coworkers can't pronounce your name but will eagerly repeat the Sanskrit phrases from their yoga class. Harit, a lonely Indian immigrant in his mid-forties, lives with his mother who can no longer function after the death of Harit's sister, Swati. In a misguided attempt to keep both himself and his mother sane, Harit has taken to dressing up in a sari every night to pass himself off as his sister. Meanwhile, Ranjana, also an Indian immigrant in her mid-forties, has just seen her only child, Prashant, off to college. Worried that her husband has begun an affair, she seeks solace by writing paranormal romances in secret. When Harit and Ranjana's paths cross, they begin a strange yet necessary friendship that brings to light their own passions and fears"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Picador, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250112118
Branch Call Number: FICTION Sat
Description: 384 pages ; 22 cm


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Feb 01, 2018

I found this book absurd. I cannot think of one person whom I would recommend this book to for the foul language and the perverse subject matter. I feel I wasted 10 hours of my time hoping that somehow the story would redeem itself. I read the book based upon it being selected as a "county read". Last time I will do that. I would have rated it a 0 star. However, the reader of the audio book did well. He inflected his voice in a Hindu manner in the appropriate places and he did well changing his voice to impersonate different characters throughout the book. OK, I will raise my rating to 1/2 star!!!!

Jan 27, 2018

Can a novel be "sweet"? This qualifies. Reading "No One an Pronounce My Name" felt a bit like walking on a long, meandering path; it's enjoyable, with little tension, seemingly leading to nowhere. The pace picks up later (and I'd wished for more of that, earlier) and though it all wraps up a bit too tidily for any fans of realism, that wrap-up feels satisfyingly sweet.

I think this author has a better book in him somewhere as I can almost see it in the parts of the book I most enjoyed (the dialogue with Cheryl, at the book convention, for one).

Jul 16, 2017

At first, I picked this up because the blurb made me laugh.

"For some, America is a bewildering and alienating place where coworkers cannot pronounce your name but will eagerly repeat Sanskrit phrases from their yoga classes."

And at first, I didn't like Harit. I wasn't sure what type of book this was going to be. Was it literary fiction? Was it a summer romp? All of the above?

But I kept reading and I'm so glad I did.

I feel like Satyal really comes alive when he writes characters interacting together. He so skilfully weaves dialogue and ideas about our expectations -- he writes a character's thoughts beautifully.

I loved Ranjana. I loved her for her spirit, for her tiny little triumphs, for her insecurities and flaws. This book started carefully and just kept building and building and I kept reading and reading. It's so, so readable.

The author manages to acknowledge so many parts of our lives that are so fraught -- grief, immigration, an unhappy marriage, a damaged ego, and he does so with such care. Each conversation felt like it had real stakes, that each character was going to take something away from. Every word felt worth it and that feels like such an accomplishment.

Moreover, Satyal incorporates LGBTIQA themes and issues so delicately and so lovingly and I adore him all the more for it. This is why I read fiction, so I get to experience characters that are this authentic.

Here is Satyal who acknowledges Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which a section of law which calls "for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for all carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal (primarily interpreted to be homosexuality, especially sodomy, including between consenting adults)," which, by the way, was introduced by the British Empire. No such code had existed prohibiting anything before then.

Here is Satyal who creates joyful, queer characters, who adds a little more depth to a character with each chapter until I loved them all. I don't normally use the word "heart-wrenching" in a review, but it feels like it really fits here.

Each chapter is generally features one of three characters, but not always, and the wonderful part about it is, it never feels forced or a trope or a mechanism to move the story, it just is. Satyal has something that feels so natural about his craft and I can't imagine the thousands of hours he must've put in to make this book as seamless as it feels.

This book is about coming into yourself and becoming who you really are and how you feel most comfortable and the uphill battle that comes along with it. It's about fitting in, standing out and everything in between. I loved it so much.

This was such an unexpected and beautiful surprise.

SATYAL. What are you doing to me.

If you need me, I'll be cradling this book against my chest and whispering into it because I love it.

4.5 stars

SquamishLibraryStaff Jun 30, 2017

This is a humorous and heartwarming story about a group of characters living on the margins of American society. Satyal brings these misfits together so that they can learn to accept themselves and find a bit of happiness in the process. The ending was a little too contrived, but if you’re looking for a feel good read ‘No one can pronounce my name’ fits the bill.

Cynthia_N Jun 28, 2017

I'm having a hard time writing my thoughts on this one. It had a slow start and the characters had some odd characteristics (one was dressing up as his dead sister to make his mother happy) but by the end the book made me happy. The characters all seemed stuck in their roles and to see them grow into who they wanted to be was very satisfying!

May 21, 2017

Interesting characters but not much of a plot.


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