From the acclaimed author of A Breath of Fresh Air , this beautiful novel takes us to modern India during the height of the summer’s mango season. Heat, passion, and controversy explode as a woman is forced to decide between romance and tradition.
Every young Indian leaving the homeland for the United States is given the following orders by their parents: Don’t eat any cow (It’s still sacred!), don’t go out too much, save (and save, and save) your money, and most important, do not marry a foreigner. Priya Rao left India when she was twenty to study in the U.S., and she’s never been back. Now, seven years later, she’s out of excuses. She has to return and give her family the news: She’s engaged to Nick Collins, a kind, loving American man. It’s going to break their hearts.
Returning to India is an overwhelming experience for Priya. When she was growing up, summer was all about mangoes—ripe, sweet mangoes, bursting with juices that dripped down your chin, hands, and neck. But after years away, she sweats as if she’s never been through an Indian summer before. Everything looks dirtier than she remembered. And things that used to seem natural (a buffalo strolling down a newly laid asphalt road, for example) now feel totally chaotic.
But Priya’s relatives remain the same. Her mother and father insist that it’s time they arranged her marriage to a “nice Indian boy.” Her extended family talks of nothing but marriage—particularly the marriage of her uncle Anand, which still has them reeling. Not only did Anand marry a woman from another Indian state, but he also married for love. Happiness and love are not the point of her grandparents’ or her parents’ union. In her family’s rule book, duty is at the top of the list.
Just as Priya begins to feel she can’t possibly tell her family that she’s engaged to an American, a secret is revealed that leaves her stunned and off-balance. Now she is forced to choose between the love of her family and Nick, the love of her life.
As sharp and intoxicating as sugarcane juice bought fresh from a market cart, The Mango Season is a delightful trip into the heart and soul of both contemporary India and a woman on the edge of a profound life change.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Mango Season|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Mango Season|
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The Mango Season
Use Your Senses
It was overpowering, the smell of mangoes-some fresh, some old, some rotten. With a large empty coconut straw basket, I followed my mother as she stopped at every stall in the massive mango bazaar. They had to taste a certain way; they had to be sour and they had to be mangoes that would not turn sweet when ripened. The mangoes that went into making mango pickle were special mangoes. It was important to use your senses to pick the right batch. You tasted one mango and you relied upon that one mango to tell you what the other mangoes from the same tree tasted like.
"No, no." My mother shook her head at the man sitting in a dirty white dhoti and kurta. His skin was leathery around his mouth and there were deep crevices around his eyes. His face spoke volumes about his life, the hardships, the endless days under the relentless sun selling his wares, sometimes mangoes, sometimes something else, whatever was in season. He was chewing betel leaves, which he spat out at regular intervals in the area between his stall and the one next to him.
"Amma," the man said with finality, as he licked his cracked lips with a tongue reddened by betel leaves. "Ten rupees a k-g, enh, take it or leave it."
My mother shrugged. "I can get them for seven a kilo in Abids."
The man smiled crookedly. "This is Monda Market, Amma. The price here is the lowest. And all these, enh"-he spread his hand over the coconut straw baskets that held hundreds of mangoes-"taste the same."
That had to be a stretch, but I didn't say anything, didn't want to get embroiled in this particular discussion. I stood mute next to