The Marriage Bureau for Rich People Summary and Reviews

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

by Farahad Zama

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2009
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Alexander McCall Smith meets Jane Austen in this delightfully charming Indian novel about finding love.

What does an Indian man with a wealth of common sense do when his retirement becomes too monotonous for him to stand? Open a marriage bureau of course!

With a steady stream of clients to keep him busy, Mr. Ali sees his new business flourish as the indomitable Mrs. Ali and his careful assistant, Aruna, look on with vigilant eyes. There's the man who wants a tall son-in-law because his daughter is short; the divorced woman who ends up back with her ex-husband; a salesman who can't seem to sell himself; and a wealthy, young doctor for whom no match is ever perfect. But although his clients go away happy, little does Mr. Ali know that his esteemed Aruna hides a tragedy in her past—a misfortune that the bureau, as luck would have it, serendipitously undoes.

Bursting with the color and allure of India, and with a cast of endearing characters, The Marriage Bureau for Rich People has shades of Jane Austen and Alexander McCall Smith but with a resonance and originality entirely its own. Farahad's effortless style reveals a country still grappling with the politics of caste, religion, and civil unrest, all the while delivering a shamefully delightful read.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Zama's delightful world of mid-morning tea breaks, afternoon siestas, picnics in mango groves and meddlesome aunties is a pleasant place to hang out." - Publishers Weekly

"Zama sprinkles his lively narrative with morsels of everyday life and age-old traditions ... all of which enrich and enliven his simple and engaging plot." - Booklist

"Mainly appealing to readers with some interest in Indian culture and customs." - Library Journal

"The novel touches upon the religious, class and gender inequalities of modern Indian society without getting weighed down by them. A charming, modest cross-cultural confection." - Kirkus Reviews

"A charming novel, fascinating in its depiction of a rich and exotic culture, yet filled with characters as familiar as your next-door neighbors." - Ann B. Ross, author of the Miss Julia novels

“Farahad Zama's thoroughly entertaining debut novel captivates and delights. In marrying a uniquely Indian tale of culture and tradition to a universal story of family bonds tested and love triumphant, Zama has arranged a perfect match.” - Jennifer Chiaverini, author of the Elm Creek Quilts novels

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Farahad Zama was born in Visakhapatnam (Vizag) on the eastern coast of India in 1966. After obtaining a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Engineering at Kharagpur, near Kolkata, he moved to Mumbai to work for an investment bank. An arranged marriage to a Vizag girl soon followed. His career took him to New York, Zurich and Luxembourg and finally brought him to London for six months. Sixteen years later Farahad is still in South London with his Vizag girl and two Croydon-born boys.

His first book, The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, was a Richard and Judy Daily Mail selection and was shortlisted for Waterstone's First Novel at the 2009 National Book Awards and a Muslim Writers Award and it won the Melissa Nathan Award.

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