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America for Beginners: A Novel av Leah…
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America for Beginners: A Novel (utgåvan 2018)

av Leah Franqui (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2694874,330 (3.76)4
Recalling contemporary classics such as Americanah, Behold the Dreamers, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances. Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkata to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival's husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly--heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life. Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company's indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi--a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream--it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pival's guide is the company's new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year--and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty's sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she's along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week "working" vacation traveling across America be? Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son--and her hopes of a reunion with him--are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Pival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America--and themselves--in different and profound new ways. A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren't always the ones we seek.… (mer)
Medlem:nloughead
Titel:America for Beginners: A Novel
Författare:Leah Franqui (Författare)
Info:William Morrow (2018), 320 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:america for beginners

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America for Beginners av Leah Franqui

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Pival Sengupta, a recently widowed Kolcatta native, books a trip to America for her first solo venture outside her home city. But she’s not really interested in seeing all the sights across America so much as she wants to find some connection to her estranged son, Rahi, who had been living in California. Did he visit any of these places? What would he have thought? She’s accompanied by a tour guide, Satya, and a paid companion, Rebecca.

This went in directions I wasn’t expecting. I had read little about the book in advance, and thought it would a lighthearted, somewhat humorous look at America through the eyes of a total newcomer. But there were many deeper issues here.

Pival must deal with her grief – over both her husband and her son. She is also consumed by anger, confusion and regret over a life she’s never had, having given up any control to others before now. She’s puzzled by the freedom Rebecca shows – how comfortable and assertive she is, how she dresses, her consumption of alcohol – and also a little envious.

Rebecca is struggling with her own life choices. She has a contentious relationship with her mother, is not having success as an actress in New York, but cannot seem to seek a career away from that city. This “break” gives her time to think over her life and her choices.

Satya is in the country illegally, having overstayed a tourist visa. He hasn’t left the small circle of immigrants he’s found in New York before now, and has been furiously studying, trying to always have an answer, even if he must make it up. He’s puzzled by a tourist (Pavil) who doesn’t want to shop at ever stop, and feels stressed by any possible change in plans. And he has regrets and guilt over how he’s treated his best friend.

And Rahi … in flashbacks the reader gets to know him and his lover Jake. And learn something of the conflicts he had to face in acknowledging his sexuality and being estranged from his family as a result.

There WERE humorous scenes, and I enjoyed seeing some of these sights through the eyes of Pavil and Satya. But there were several scenes that were emotionally charged, especially once the trio makes it to Los Angeles. At times I was in tears. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending is hopeful. All the characters have to find ways to deal with the past and to move forward with courage.

This is Franqui’s debut novel. I look forward to reading more from her in the future. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 28, 2021 |
America for Beginners reads like a wonderfully quirky independent movie.
Mrs Sengupta, a widow from India books a tour across the US to find what happened to her son. However she doesn’t tell her tour guide or female companion, a Bangladeshi immigrant and an out-of-work actress, her real purpose. The characters are well-developed and the way Franqui shows the US through each of their perspectives is well-done. It’s sweet without being overly sappy. I think it would make a good book club discussion. ( )
  strandbooks | Oct 30, 2019 |
After Pival’s husband passes away, she books a tour of America with a travel agency specializing in giving tours to people coming from India. She is searching for her son that she and her husband disowned for being gay. Her husband told her their son was dead but she never quite believed him.

Her tour guide is the inexperienced Satya. Because she is a single Indian woman traveling alone with a man, decorum dictates that she be accompanied by a chaperone. Enter Rebecca, an aspiring actress, also inexperienced in touring America.

The set-up of this book has all the makings of a madcap road trip novel but this book is far from that. While there is some humor, it’s really a character study of not only the three people on the road trip but of Pival’s son and his boyfriend. Each person is on their own emotional inner journey. They are all richly drawn and I was rooting for everyone. America for Beginners is Leah Franqui’s first novel. I’m looking forward to whatever she comes up with next. ( )
  mcelhra | Oct 1, 2019 |
Linda's Book Obsession Reviews "America for Beginners" by Leah Franqui, William Morrow, 2019

Leah Franqui, Author of "America for Beginners" has written an intriguing, captivating, entertaining, compassionate, witty, and emotional novel. The Genres for this story are Fiction, Women's Fiction, and Multi-Cultural Interest. The story takes place in India and different areas in the United States. The timeline for this story is in the present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters and events in the story. The colorful characters are described as complex, complicated, confused and flawed.

When Pavil's husband dies, she is determined to leave India and find out if her estranged son Rahi is alive. Just prior to her husband's death, he had told her that someone called and said that Rahi had died. That was before Rahi was banned from the family after he told his parents he was gay.

Using a tour company that supposedly upper-class Indians use, Pavil finds herself with two members of the company. Satya is a young man from Bangladesh, and Rebecca, a young Jewish actress. Of course, Pavil is not supposed to know where her tour guides come from. As they tour the different areas in the United States, the three are indirectly bonded in their search for different things.

I appreciate that the author discusses topics such as prejudice, emotional instability and depression, dysfunctional families, and poverty vs. wealth. The author also mentions compassion, the importance of emotional support, family, friends, love, and hope. I would recommend this intriguing novel. ( )
  teachlz | Aug 25, 2019 |
AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS by Leah Franqui
This was a delightful book. A conservative Indian lady seeks closure with her son’s death by taking a guided tour of America.
Pival hires an Indian (she thinks) tour company that is really Bengali. Her “companion” is an erstwhile actress who is tired of life. Her tour guide has never led a tour before. These three mismatched characters, each with their own set of opinions and expectations find themselves and America as they travel. Pival’s son, his chosen lifestyle, his companion, and his life’s work become clear as the tour progresses.
By turns hilarious and heartrending, America for Beginners presents an America like no other. The characters are interesting and well developed. The story line has great depth and insight. While reading, you might consider a tour of America you might arrange – especially the meals along the way.
5 of 5 stars ( )
  beckyhaase | Aug 10, 2019 |
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Recalling contemporary classics such as Americanah, Behold the Dreamers, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances. Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkata to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival's husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly--heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life. Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company's indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi--a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream--it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pival's guide is the company's new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year--and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty's sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she's along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week "working" vacation traveling across America be? Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son--and her hopes of a reunion with him--are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Pival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America--and themselves--in different and profound new ways. A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren't always the ones we seek.

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