The Windfall by Diksha Basu
Synopsis: (From Goodreads): For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all.
The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters..
I gave The Windfall by Diksha Basu 4 out of 5 stars. Overall, this was an enjoyable and entertaining read with lots of cultural references to a culture (Indian) that I am not very familiar with. I cannot speak about the accuracy of the references, but I can say that the descriptions of life, love, relationships, family, and friendships in India, were well written and beautifully portrayed.
The story centers on the Jha family, Mr. Jha, Mrs. Jha, and Rupak, in a rags to riches type of situation. The Jha family is solidly middle class Indian, living in Delhi. Mr. Jha sells a dotcom company in the United States and becomes very wealthy. Mr. Jha decides to move his family to a wealthy part of Delhi and lots of situations ensue.
There is a large cast of supporting characters that are all quite interesting and well developed. There is Mrs. Ray, a young widow, finding love as an adult, Mr. and Mrs. Gupta, who are the meddling neighbors, who appear jealous of the Jha’s newly found riches. The Chopra’s are the new neighbors in the rich neighborhood that the Jha’s move to. There is also Rupak Jha, who is studying in New York and attempting to find himself amid the chaos of new wealth, teenage angst, and battling coming to terms with the two worlds in which he lives in. I found the supporting characters much more interesting at times, than the Jha’s.
Throughout the story, it appears that no one is quite comfortable in their own skin, with the exception of Mrs. Ray. I would describe this as a coming of age story for all the characters (even though most are adults in their 50’s). Each character is attempting to deal with the wealth that has befallen them, each in different ways. Mrs. Jha would rather change nothing and remain in the neighborhood that she has raised her family in. Mr. Jha feels the need to ensure that everyone knows that he is now wealthy and has finally made it. Rupak cannot decide what he wants to do with his life and is in constant battle to please his family and his girlfriend without considering what would make him happy.
Overall, this book has great entertainment value and if you enjoy reading about other cultures, then you would enjoy this book. The character development is excellent and the descriptions of day to day life in India are rich and colorful.
“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”