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New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Sanjena Sathian

New Episode of Your Favorite Book with Sanjena Sathian

Welcome to another installment of a collaboration between the Chicago Review of Books and the Your Favorite Book podcast. Malavika Praseed, frequent CHIRB contributor and podcast host, seeks to talk to readers and writers about the books that light a fire inside them. What’s your favorite book and why?

This week’s guest is Sanjena Sathian, author of Gold Diggers. We follow Neil Narayan as he navigates his tumultuous teen years entrenched in the Indian community in suburban Georgia, as he progresses to struggling grad student in the Bay area. The question of ambition looms large in Neil’s life, and his lack of interest in academic and extracurricular excellence set him apart from his peers. His attentions are more focused on his neighbor, Anita. Neil soon learns the secret to Anita’s ambition is a potion brewed from stolen gold. Neil gets involved in gold pilfering, and after tragedy strikes, he must decide whether to return to the practice in his mid-twenties when the stakes are even higher.

Focusing on the idea of the ‘typical’ South Asian novel and her own desire to eschew tradition, Sanjena chose the 1990 novel The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi, a book that rolls its eyes at conventions and expectations. Instead, Kureishi delves us into the wild world of Karim Amir, coming of age in mid 1970s London. Karim, half South Asian and half English, sees his immigrant father transition from mildmannered family man to newly ordained Buddhist guru for unhappy white people. When Karim’s own life takes a turn into an acting career, and the roles he take on call into question his identity, Karim sees the common ground between himself and his father. Ultimately, this is a work of race, society, as well as sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Sanjena waxes poetic on influential works, how the history of South Asian America is more complicated than we think, as well as representation in a burgeoning media market. As always, all episodes are spoiler free, although we believe that a novel like The Buddha of Suburbia may not even have spoilers in the traditional sense.

See Also

The Collected Stories of Grace Paley with Jami Attenberg (Author of I Came All This Way to Meet You) Your Favorite Book

Welcome to a new year and a new season of Your Favorite Book! Our inaugural guest this season is Jami Attenberg, most well known for her fiction (All This Could Be Yours, The Middlesteins, and others) but she's here to talk about her memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home. Jami shares her insights on book events, travel in the midst of COVID, setting boundaries with social media, and so much more. We also chat about a collection of short stories for the first time on this show, in this case the collected works of Grace Paley. We discuss her unique voice and eschewing of formal conventions, along with avoiding sentiment and cliche in writing domesticity. It's a great episode and definitely avoids spoilers, hope you all enjoy! Jami's virtual event at Women and Children First: Buy Jami's Book: Follow the podcast on instagram and twitter @yfbpodcast
  1. The Collected Stories of Grace Paley with Jami Attenberg (Author of I Came All This Way to Meet You)
  2. My Favorite Books of 2021
  3. On Book Podcasting with Julie Strauss (Best Book Ever Crossover)
  4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass with Dr. Mark M. Hennelly
  5. The God of Small Things with Mina Seçkin (Author of The Four Humors)

Listen to this episode of Your Favorite Book at the link above, and stay tuned for more episodes with other writers in the weeks to come. If you enjoy this episode, check out other episodes of Your Favorite Book on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or other major podcast platforms.

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