For Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani
Spirited, elegant, fun, with an enchanting authorial voice, For Matrimonial Purposes - a first novel which was the subject of a fierce international auction - is a remarkable achievement, an original in the contemporary women's market.
The main character, Anju, born and raised in Bombay, is now a fashion journalist in New York. But twinned with her enjoyment of the American scene, her single, glamorous life and the fashion perks it brings, is her determination to remain true to her Indian roots and her love of her extensive family.
Marriage is the most important role for an Indian woman, and arranged marriages are still the custom: `I am not working for your happiness, but for you to be married,' says Anju's mother. Anju is 30, old in Indian terms, and her mother and aunt fear that her independent ways might make her less acceptable to other family's eyes. They set about organising possible contacts in their home town, Bombay. But now a prospective bride or groom, or their families, can decline the suggested marriage after a meeting.
For Matrimonial Purposes is the hilarious, poignant, loving story of Anju's journey, the rare selection of men and their families that she meets, and the choices that she must make while trying to remain true to herself and satisfy her family and tradition.