Basu’s witty, sharply observed debut novel follows the Jha family as each member struggles to adjust to new circumstances. In New Delhi, Mr. and Mrs. Jha, wealthy after the sale of Mr. Jha’s website, move from a modest apartment to a mansion in an exclusive neighborhood, then try to learn the rules of the well-to-do. Meanwhile, in the U.S., their son is working on his MBA and feeling torn between his American girlfriend, who represents rebellion and independence, and the woman who would be his parents’ choice, an Indian student he’s also attracted to. Basu, originally from New Delhi and now teaching at Columbia, gives us a sparkling take on upward mobility and a vivid portrait of India’s nouveau riche.
Unfolding over three days on an island off the coast of Maine in 1964, Nagy’s rich debut novel follows the implosion of two blue-blood New England families. The weekend in question sees the anniversary of the death of Hannah Quick, one of the Island’s matriarchs, and the argument between Jim Hillsinger and his wife over sending their son to Baffin Island to spend twenty-four hours alone in fulfillment of an ancient manhood ritual. Complicating things further, Jim is a former CIA agent suspected of treason. As the personal tensions combine with the national anxiety of the McCarthy years, the Quick and Hillsinger families are changed irrevocably. Nagy, a playwright, critic, and filmmaker, is a founding member of the Editorial Board of Zoetrope: All-Story.