"A lyrical debut" (Asian Week) exploring the dilemma confronting Layla, a second generation Indian-American Muslim. As a dutiful Muslim daughter and an independent young American, Layla is torn between clashing identities. Reluctantly agreeing to her parents' wish for her to leave America and submit to an arranged marriage, Layla enters into the closed world of tradition and ritual as the wedding preparations get underway in Hyderabad. Set against a background of rising Hindu-Muslim violence, and taboo questions of sexuality, Samina Ali presents the complexities of life behind the chador, and the story of a marriage where no one is what they seem. In the words of the San Francisco Chronicle, Madras on Rainy Days introduces an "abundantly talented new voice."
Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award - Finalist, Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award - Nominee
Prologue: One Year Ago
Suffering quietly in a room not my own. The door locked. The wooden shutters pulled closed and bolted. No breeze out there, nothing to rustle the leaves of the mango or coconut trees. Only stillness....
Praise for Madras on Rainy Days
“Her story is intriguing not for its surprises...but because she is one of a rare breed of writers who take us into the closed world behind a Muslim woman's veil.” —Mitali Saran, Far Eastern Economic Review
“Layla and Sameer tussle out not just their personal and sexual struggles, but the larger questions of where and how they can belong to both the Unites States and India. The novel has a fierce and shimmering intensity....Madras on Rainy Days has given us something new.” —Star Tribune
“This book goes to a place where few, if any, of its predecessors have gone before....A deeply feminist novel with richly drawn and complicated characters.” —Ms. Magazine