A good Indian wife is a novel by Anne Cherian, recommended to me by goodreads.com based on my book shelves, is a good read.
The story revolves around Leila Krishnan (pronounced Laila, I kept feeling it was Leela till the character herself clarifies, it is Laila), a girl from a small steel town, the author has not mentioned the name but it seems to be Salem due to its proximity to Ooty. She is thirty, works as an English Lecturer and lives with her parents, her father used to work in the Steel industry and two sisters, 24 year old Indy and 8 year old Kila. Her mother wants her to get married and buys her a new saree every time a boy comes to ‘see’ her. She gets rejected because of her height, because her family cannot pay dowry and because she is past her age of marriage.
Suneel Sarath is an anesthesiologist working in San Fransisco, has a condo, drives a Porsche, is unfortunately born in India (a UBI), because he lives, feels like an American and has a Gori girlfriend, Caroline. He has shortened his name to Neel. His family lives in the same unnamed town where Leila’s family lives. His mother calls him to India to meet his ailing grandfather and plans with his aunt and gets him married to Leila against his wishes. He plans to leave her in India and go back, but his family has other plans for him.
They reach San Fransisco, Neel spends more time in the hospital and at Caroline’s house than Leila. He wants her to start working, become independent so that he can divorce her without guilt. Leila tries to make her marriage work. She becomes self-confident, makes friends and learns driving.
I hated Neel more than I liked him because even though he was cheating on his wife, he felt he was not technically doing so. I liked him because he was responsible enough to feel that he should let Leila be self reliant before he divorced her.
Read it if you like romance. It is actually a Mills and Boon with Indian spices.
Book Source: ought
Publisher: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc