Nikita Lalwani’s Gifted

“He had taken her out of the rich bustle of her world: interrupted the round stretchings of chapattis, the powdery rainbow of her spices, and punctured her pride at exactly seven thirty each evening, forcing her to sit down at their hobbling plastic table, and run through the events of the day.”

I have high hopes for this book I just began. It’s the first novel by writer Nikita Lalwani who received her MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University (which sounds like a luxurious place to study!). Lalwani’s story in Gifted is about a young girl named Rumi whose Indian parents emigrated to England after an arranged marriage. The parents push for Rumi, who is a genius at math, to be the youngest student accepted at Oxford University.

In this sentence, the bride attempts to fit in to life in her new country. Lalwani contrasts the colorful spices with the cheap plastic table to show us how much this woman has lost when her roots from home were severed. Like any parents, they want the best for their daughter but that deep desire is made more intense by trying to “make it” in a new country. Reviews of this debut novel have called it “witty” and a “charming rite-of-passage.” Can’t wait to read more…

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