Title: Where Earth Meets Water
Author: Pia Padukone
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Cultural Fiction (South Asian)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Karom Seth feels that he has cheated death, and that one way or another, it’s coming to claim him. He was supposed to be in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and his entire family—parents and extended family—died in a tsunami that Karom missed because of his studies. Now, he lives a risky lifestyle, but his girlfriend Gita hopes to ground him. She takes him to India to meet her grandmother, Kamini, who has her own wisdom to share with Karom.
Where Earth Meets Water is an engaging contemporary novel with characters that are easy to become emotionally invested in. Though the novel has some plotting issues, this book is easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable.
Pia Padukone’s Where Earth Meets Water is an engaging contemporary novel about one young man who doesn’t know where he belongs. Karom is lost, but it isn’t the usual India versus America cultural battle that so many people experience. No, Karom is alone in the world without any family, and feels as though perhaps death should have taken him as well. He lives life with this cloud hanging over him, and his devoted girlfriend, Gita, is determined to absolve him of this survivor’s guilt. Readers will really sympathize with what Karom endures as his full story is told in flashbacks.
Lloyd is Karom’s roommate, and he’s back in the United States preparing for his wedding in Where Earth Meets Water. Lloyd has his own demons to face, and his story is touching and well done. He grapples with the fact that he’s about to be married, yet isn’t sure of his feelings, and though this may sound vague, it’s better to go in not knowing too much. Padukone writes sensitive and fully realized characters who leap off the page, emotionally involving the reader in their stories.
The issue with Where Earth Meets Water is where these two stories meet. They don’t come together seamlessly, and feel like two separate stories altogether. Add to that Kamini’s own story and the issue of Karom’s true parentage, and you have a bit of a muddle with this book. These subplots don’t really come together fully, so the transition between them can be jarring. The good news is that each of these subplots is interesting in its own right, so they aren’t competing for the reader’s attention.
Though Where Earth Meets Water has some plotting issues, I still enjoyed it thoroughly. This is the type of contemporary fiction that I enjoy and wish there were more of; easy to read in one sitting and thoroughly engaging. Pia Padukone is an author with a lot of promise and I look forward to seeing what she does next.