Goodreads): In a boxy apartment building in an Illinois university town, Romola Mitra, a newly arrived young bride, anxiously awaits her first letter from home in India. When she accidentally opens the wrong letter, it changes her life. Decades letter, her son Amit finds that letter and thinks he has discovered his mother's secret. But secrets have their own secrets sometimes.
Amit does not know that Avinash, his dependable and devoted father, has been timidly visiting gay chat rooms, driven by the lifelong desires he never allowed himself to indulge. Avinash, for his part, doesn't understand what his dutiful wife gave up in marrying him -- the memories of romance she keeps tucked away.
Growing up in Calcutta, in a house bustling with feisty grandmothers, Amit has been shielded from his parents' secrets. Now he's a successful computer engineer, settled in San Franscisco yet torn between his new life and his duties to the one he left behind.
Moving from adolescent rooftop games to adult encounters in gay bars, from hair salons in Calcutta to McDonald's drive-thrus in California, Don't Let Him Know is an unforgettable story about family and the sacrifices we make for those we love. Tender, funny, and beautifully told, it marks the arrival of a resonant new voice.
And here's what I thought: This was one of those stories that sometimes made me smile, and sometimes get a lump in my throat in the next chapter. As you can see from the summary, many of the characters have secrets in this story. The characters were all pretty clear, although I admit that I sometimes had to remind myself who was who. This is because the timeline in the book isn't in a straight line; you go back and forth at times, and the viewpoints change between the characters. While I didn't feel a strong connection with all of the characters, their stories were all compelling. This is an interesting story of how choices sometimes get made for us, and we have to deal with the consequences.
First lines: "Ma," said Amit, "I have to talk to you about something." Dinner was over. Romola and Amit were alone in the kitchen. She was putting away the leftovers while Amit wiped the kitchen counters. June was upstairs with Neel and his homework. The last traces of a California evening still dappled the neighbourhood in tranquil honeyed light.
How To Be Both by Ali Smith
9 hours ago