Title: Almost Single
Author: Advaita Kala
Release Date: February 24, 2009
Publisher: Bantam Discovery
Genre: Chick Lit, Multicultural Fiction
Source: Curled Up With a Good Book
Rating: 4 out of 5
Aisha Bhatia is the Bridget Jones of New Delhi, India. At twenty-nine, she and her single girlfriends are practically spinsters. She works as the guest relations manager in a beautiful hotel, although she hates her job. From her boss, who shirks work for trysts behind his wife’s back, to demanding guests, her life isn’t what she thought it would be. It doesn’t help that her mother is on her case, constantly reminding her that all her “black sheep” family members are getting engaged, while Aisha hasn’t had a single proposal.
But then handsome, suave Karan Verma strides into Aisha’s hotel, and everything changes. Karan is a NRI (non-resident Indian) from New York. Unmarried, chances are he’s looking for a demure Indian bride to take back to the States along with his business trip. As Aisha gets to know Karan, she begins to question what she really wants out of life and what her future path should be.
The chick-lit market for Indian women is slowly growing, but this is one of the first I’ve read that is actually set in India, where the main characters live in India rather than just going back to visit. This creates a whole new market for this book, and it’s a smart choice. It portrays India as hip and urban; it’s easy to forget that the novel is set in New Delhi and not in New York City. There are clubs and bar hookups; though these girls seem to be a little less promiscuous than their British and American counterparts, it is clear they are living the high life in India. They love their expensive shoes and clothes, though Aisha is forced to wear a sari to work every day. (Speaking of saris, that is a beautiful one on the cover, though the model seems to lack experience tying saris!)
These multicultural elements that bring Almost Single to the next level. From the cultural reliance on astrology to Hindu festivals, this is a colorful book that anyone will enjoy. Those of Indian heritage will love seeing the culture they grew up with splashed all over the pages, while those interested in Indian culture will discover new awareness here. There might be some difficulty in understanding parts of the book, as Kala tries to keep Almost Single accurate and some of the conversations are in Hindi. However, when translations are necessary, the author provides them. When they are not, the substance of the conversation isn’t really important.
Almost Single is a novel that is very much on the surface. While Aisha does question what she wants out of life, the book is more about the humor of everyday life than any deep musings. It’s a light, fun read that women of any background can enjoy.