Nov. 12th, 2015

kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
I've been meaning to recommend The Marriage Bureau for Rich People for a while. Especially since K. Tempest Bradford suggested reading more non-white-males.

The short recommendation is, if you like Jane Austen you will like Farahad Zama.

The long version is: the author is from India. He lives in the U.K. I think he wrote this because he was homesick. It is a lovely cozy story where pretty much everyone is nice, and there are lots of details of daily and domestic life. The interest and tension come from watching very nice, virtuous people struggle with social and economic constraints.

It's a lot like Jane Austen: you are expected, practically required, to get married. There is an appropriate age: early to late twenties, no later. Divorce is a terrible, life-blighting scandal. Parents have a lot of power over even adult children's lives.

It's an ensemble story, but it centers on Mr. Ali, who recently retired from government service and starts a matchmaking business on his front porch, to keep busy. (The 'rich people' of the title means doctors, lawyers, engineers: people making the equivalent of $50,000 American, enough to afford the services of a professional matchmaker.) It also centers on Aruna, the young woman he hires (on his wife's advice) as an assistant.

Mr. and Mrs. Ali are Moslem. Aruna's family are Hindu and Brahmins. The author shows how both households are run and shows a Moslem wedding and a Brahmin wedding. Anyone who's been enjoying the adventures of Madame CC will probably also enjoy this.

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