It all started in August 1968 when Babo, with curly hair and jhill mill teeth, became the first member of the Patel family to leave Madras and fly on a plane all the way to London to further his education.
His father should have known there would be trouble: on the morning of the departure he had his first and only dream, in which strange ghosts threw poison-tipped arrows and all his family was lost...But off Babo went, and now here he is, in a flat off the Finchley Road, untraditionally making love to a cream-skinned girl from Wales, Sian Jones, who he fell head over heels for as soon as he saw the twirl of red ribbon in her hair.
Ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom, ba-ba-boom-boom-boom. Theirs is a mixed-up love in a topsy-turvy world, and their two families will never be the same again.
Meet the Patel-Joneses: Babo, Sian, Mayuri and Bean, in their little house with orange and black gates next-door to the Punjab Women's Association. As the twentieth century creaks and croaks its way along - somewhere out there Charles and Diana get hitched; Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her own bodyguards; cable TV arrives in India - these four navigate their way through the uncharted territory of a 'hybrid' family: the hustle and bustle of Babo's relatives, the faraway phone-line crackle of Sian's, the eternal wisdom and soft bosom of great-grandmother Ba, the perils of first love, lost innocence and old age, and the big question: what do you do with the space your loved ones leave behind?
In this tender, lyrical and uplifting debut, Tishani Doshi, a prizewinning poet, effortlessly captures the quirks and calamities of one unusual clan in a story of identity, family, belonging and all-transcending love.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Publication Date: 17/05/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780747590927