Monday, October 9, 2017

Review: The Windfall by Diksha Basu

The Windfall By Diksha Basu
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release Date: June 27th, 2017
Format: Hardback, 295 pages
Source: Blogging For Books*
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all.

The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters.
There is this phrase in America, "Keeping up with the Joneses" and I think it basically is a capitalist ideal to just keep on buying more stuff and better stuff than your neighbor. It's a lot about caring what other people think about you and showing your wealth. Well...imagine my total lack of surprise that this is also a thing that exists in India with the wealthy. The Windfall by Diksha Basu is a satire book that really pokes fun at this idea. She really shows you just how ridiculous it all is, and it made for a really enjoyable read!

So this book is a satire and a lot of reviewers have praised it for it's laugh out loud hilarious content. I liked this book and thought it was really enjoyable, but didn't think it was quite as hilarious as everyone said. Maybe it's an age thing, or maybe it was a cultural thing. There were some funny parts, but I didn't find myself laughing out loud in public like other reviewers have mentioned. 

I have a hard time finding good adult novels to read unless they are genre fiction (fantasy/scifi) but this one I really liked! I want to find some more contemporary adult novels like this. I felt like I could relate to these characters and understand them pretty well, even though I am much younger and come from a different culture. 

I really enjoyed reading about India through this book and learning all the little cultural things that I wouldn't have experienced if this book was set somewhere else. There were a few things I had to actually look up. Like when Mrs. Ray reflected on her widowhood and mentioned that she broke her bangles and stopped wearing vermillion in her hair. I had NO idea what this meant, but a quick google search cleared it up. Little things like that in books are really interesting to me. I think it really makes the setting more rounded and makes me understand where this story takes place and who these characters are. 

I think Basu wrote some seriously interesting, if not seriously flawed characters in this book. I felt for poor Mrs.Jha having to put up with her ridiculous husband who cared too much about what the neighbors thought, and she was just like, "Why??" I think she might have been my favorite character in this book, because she was the only rational one!

This was a really enjoyable read, and I definitely want to watch out for any more books that Basu writes. If you want to read more adult contemporary but don't know where to start, I think this is a good book to start with. 

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reads Everyone!