America for Beginners
Rahi, an only child, reveals to his parents the truth of his sexual orientation and is met with silence and is subsequently cut off from his family. After an unexpected phone call, Pival is informed by her husband that Rahi is dead, a sudden death. She never quite believes him, but has no evidence to the contrary.
Pival’s appeal draws in the reader from the very beginning. She is at once independent and helpless; isolated in a place crowded with her husband’s relatives. The story arc follows the widow’s travels, from India to America, as she enlists the help of a tour guide company to travel the country that took her son.
While not narrated directly by the individuals themselves, each chapter is viewed from the perspective of a specific person. The text is well written and the characters are likable, but realistic. The story has a colorful cast of secondary characters, some of whom are charming, even as they are trying too hard. “[B]ut when you are being in Rome, as it were, you pay Roman fees” warned the tour company owner about the custom of tipping in America.
This title is also available as an eaudiobook on hoopla here: https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12126524