The Golden Son
The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter returns with an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honor, tradition, and identity, in which two childhood friends—a young doctor and a newly married bride—must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts.
The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America. When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.
Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever.
Tender and bittersweet, The Golden Son illuminates the ambivalence of people caught between past and present, tradition and modernity, duty and choice; the push and pull of living in two cultures, and the painful decisions we must make to find our true selves.
The large and small struggles that make up everyday life are woven into an international family saga in Gowda's latest novel. After 10-year-old Anil Patel's father witnesses the small miracle of a doctor fixing a child's cleft lip in a nearby village in Western India, he and Anil agree that Anil should become a doctor. That decision later carries Anil far from his family's farm to a medical internship in Dallas. As Anil settles into American life with all the fixings, including an American girlfriend, his loved ones in India are trapped by their traditions. Worst off is Anil's childhood friend Leena, caught in an abusive marriage and powerless as a woman in traditional Indian culture. Anil must reckon with these issues when his father dies and he takes on familial duties, while keeping up with his American medical program. Straddling two worlds, Anil finds difficulty fitting into either. Like Gowda's debut novel, Secret Daughter, which became a bestseller in Canada, this new book, with its depiction of family struggles, offers readers a vivid cultural immersion. Even if the outcome is somewhat predictable, and tied up a bit too neatly, the journey to get there is deeply pleasurable.