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Under the Lemon Trees

Bhira Backhaus

Thomas Dunne Books

A beautifully written debut novel of a young Indian woman struggling between embracing her heritage and fitting in as an American

In Oak Grove, California, 1976, there are as many Sikh temples as Christian churches, the city council has prints announcements in both English and Punjabi and the large Indian immigrant community is gracefully coexists with the old farming families. But for 15-year-old Jeeto, figuring out where she fits best—and what she must do to find that fit—isn’t so easy.

Jeeto soon realizes that the women around her do far more than drink tea on balmy California afternoons—their traditions and religion give shape to fortune and destiny in a world of arranged marriages and strict family politics that force Jeeto to struggle with reconciling the possibilities of freedom and love.

In the tradition of Jhumpa Lahiri and Arundhati Roy, Under the Lemon Trees is poised to speak to this same audience in an historically successful market. A stellar debut from an acclaimed writer, this is a story about finding love and discovering a true home while navigating traditions, family and faith—part Bend it Like Beckham, part Monsoon Wedding, this is a cultural and romantic tour de force.


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Chapter One

The chance to love comes to all of us.We listen for its sound beneath our footsteps, seek it down the improbable paths that we roam. Sometimes we choose to turn away from it, or must. Or we fail to see it at all and it vanishes like a feather on air, leaving only the flicker of a shadow as it passes. By the time she married, my sister, Neelam, had surrendered herself to a fate dictated not by desire or foolish dreams but by the positions of the stars and planets. She was engaged to a man whom she had never met, whom she knew merely by the fuzzy image in a photograph, but whose

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Bhira Backhaus

  • BHIRA BACKHAUS lives in Phoenix, but was born and raised in California’s Central Valley where her parents emigrated from India. She received her MFA from Arizona State University and won the Martindale prize for fiction. Her work has appeared in Best New American Voices 2005.

  • Bhira Backhaus © Southwest Portraits
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Available Formats and Book Details

Under the Lemon Trees

Bhira Backhaus

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Thomas Dunne Books

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