Excerpt from America for Beginners by Leah Franqui, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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America for Beginners

by Leah Franqui

America for Beginners by Leah Franqui X
America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
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    Jul 2018, 320 pages
    Jul 2019, 320 pages


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"Your companion!"

"Hello. I'm Rebecca Elliot. It's very nice to meet you, Mrs. Sengupta," Rebecca said, formally but with a nice degree of warmth. She held out her hand to be shaken. Mrs. Sengupta seemed surprised but happy. She opened her mouth to reply but was cut off by Ronnie.

"Greetings, distinguished auntie and wonderful madam, and welcome yourself to America! I trust you have had a night of extreme comfort and luxury here in the very heart and center of the great city of New York, the biggest of apples, though I of course prefer the highly superior Alphonso mango. I am Ronnie Munshi, you are recognizing my voice from the phone, I am sure and certain. Guide has been delayed by life-threatening illness, very serious but I am sure completely fine very soon, so we will start the tour together, as of course planned, in approximately and exactly four minutes, which should give you this time to use the WC, as it is called, water closet or loo, of course, should you need to do so at any time in this time. Guide will of course be here quite soon but in the meantime you will be pleased to accept personal attention from myself—"

"But the guide is here, Mr. Munshi." Mrs. Sengupta's voice was as soft in person as it had been on the phone. Ronnie and Rebecca had to lean forward a bit to hear her, which made the woman shrink back.

"What is this, madam?" Ronnie looked around for Satya again, wondering if Mrs. Sengupta was one of those spiritualists who had been speaking in a religious sense, that is, the presence of all people was always around and that sort of nonsense. Ronnie hated that kind of thinking but he would adapt, of course, to the needs of his client, and perhaps they could stop by a psychic reading along the way to the boat or after, really, because of the timing—"

Here it is, Mrs. Sengupta." Satya ran up and handed Mrs. Sengupta a purse.

"I forgot my purse in the breakfast room. Mr. Roy very kindly went back to get it for me. He arrived here at eight, and accompanied me at breakfast. He doesn't look sick, Mr. Munshi." Ronnie's face reddened to the shade of a ripe cherry at Mrs. Sengupta's faintly curious tone. She didn't appear to be mocking him but Ronnie wasn't sure. He had to regain control of the situation, fast.

"No, yes, no, not him, another guide, I am very sorry, all apologies, forgot which one I was speaking to, business is doing so well I have too many guides now! All apologies." Ronnie glared at Satya. A full hour early? He would have admired it if it hadn't been so presumptuous.

"Shall we go then?" Mrs. Sengupta inquired.

Ronnie nodded, all smiles. "Your adventure awaits!"

Mrs. Sengupta paused as she passed Ronnie, making sure Satya was well on his way out.

"He doesn't look sick at all, Mr. Munshi. He doesn't look Indian, either."

This was not a good start. The boat ride, which he had been anticipating with such joy, now seemed like a prison sentence. He would remind Satya to be as Indian as possible when he got a moment alone with him, and reprimand him for this one-hour- early trick. And, he thought, make it mandatory for all his guides from now on.

Additional excerpts can be found at https://info.harpercollins.com/americaforbeginners

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Excerpted from America for Beginners by Leah Franqui. Copyright © 2018 by Leah Franqui. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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