Madras on Rainy Days: A Novel

Samina Ali

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004
ISBN 10: 0374195625 / ISBN 13: 9780374195625
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Synopsis: Layla is torn among clashing identities--dutiful Muslim daughter and free, independent American woman. When she is nineteen, her parents inform Layla that a marriage has been arranged for her to an Indian man she doesn't know. A stunned Layla submits reluctantly but not before she commits a dangerous, final act of defiance. In the heat and noise of Hyderabad, as her wedding looms, her behavior becomes more and more erratic. Her mother, fearing demonic possession, takes Layla to a Muslim faith-healer, an alim, hoping to exorcise all traces of rebellion. To Layla's surprise, the ancient and elaborate wedding rituals, her groom's physical beauty, and the unexpectedly warm welcome of her new family fill her with a sense of belonging she has never known before. But her honeymoon in Madras soon reveals the full horror of the devil's bargain she has struck.

Set against the backdrop of the ancient walled city of Hyderabad and mounting Hindu-Muslim tensions, Madras on Rainy Days lyrically evokes the complexities of life behind the chador. A gorgeously written novel by an original new voice in international fiction.

From the Inside Flap:

"Her story is intriguing not for its surprises...but because she is one of a rare breed of writers who take us into the closed world behind a Muslim woman's veil."--Mitali Saran, Far Eastern Economic Review

"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."

"Layla and Sameer tussle out not just their personal and sexual struggles, but the larger questions of where and how they can belong to both the Unites States and India. The novel has a fierce and shimmering intensity....Madras on Rainy Days has given us something new."--Star Tribune
"This book goes to a place where few, if any, of its predecessors have gone before....A deeply feminist novel with richly drawn and complicated characters."--Ms. Magazine

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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Title: Madras on Rainy Days: A Novel
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good

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