Maura Moynihan Yoga Hotel: Stories

ISBN 13: 9780060559328

Yoga Hotel: Stories

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9780060559328: Yoga Hotel: Stories
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In the 1970s, Maura Moynihan moved to New Delhi with her mother and father, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who at the time was U.S. ambassador to India. She wasfascinated by the country's contradictions: ancient religions amid urban chaos, the staggering disparity between rich and poor, and Indian familial tradition and the lure of Western novelty.

From three decades of deeply sympathetic observation came the inspiration for these stories, in which the characters' beliefs are challenged as they interact with those outside their culture. British and American expatriates mingle with Indian friends, colleagues, and servants, and the stories follow the change, or failure to change, that results. Hari, a young Indian servant, hopes for his amiable British boss's help in escaping a prearranged wedding. An American embassy worker named Melanie becomes disillusioned when her married lover uses her to get a visa. At a Himalayan retreat, a wealthy group gathers to seek spiritual enlightenment, but their altruism is tested when they are asked to buy dowries for a poor Indian family.

Through witty dialogue and engaging scenes, Moynihan examines how both easterners and westerners struggle for dignity. Replete with humor and poignancy, Yoga Hotel is a stunning literary debut from a writer who understands the complexity and universality of human hopes, fears, and desires.

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About the Author:

Maura Moynihan has worked for many years as a refugee consultant in India and Nepal, inspired in part by her childhood residence in Asia as the daughter of a U.S. ambassador. Andy Warhol launched her musical career and placed her on the coveted cover of Interview magazine. Her first collection of fiction, Yoga Hotel, was a Washington Post bestseller. This is her first novel. She lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

East meets West in Moynihan's wry, knowing debut collection, so evocative of modern-day India that readers can smell the temple incense. The six stories feature bungling Westerners, whose insensitivity and ignorance of Indian customs stir up trouble wherever they go, and status-obsessed Indians, who at once mock and emulate their foreign visitors. "In the Heart of Braj" recounts Lila's retreat to visit Shyam Sunder, a rich American who abandoned his life of ease to take orders with a Hindu mystic. Though impressed by the peace and solitude of Shyam's religious existence, an unpleasant surprise awaits the na‹ve foreigner when she steps outside of his protective care. In "A Good Job in Delhi," Hari works in the home of a wealthy British rake whose unexpected benevolence saves the servant from a bleak existence and an undesirable arranged marriage. Most engaging are the stories that offer insight into the country's social mores, such as "Paying Guest" and "The Visa," which present a humorous look at the jockeying for position that occurs in India's upper castes. Moynihan's stories are full of sharp wit ("Lucy collected gurus like furniture"), but they rarely deviate from a fixed character blueprint: Western visitors are boorish, and their Indian hosts seek to exploit them. So many tiresome foreigners make an appearance that the stories become a warning for potential travelers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780060556365: Yoga Hotel: Stories

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ISBN 10:  0060556366 ISBN 13:  9780060556365
Publisher: ReganBooks, 2004
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