Read America for Beginners by Leah Franqui Online

America for Beginners

Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkota to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pivals husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenlyheartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life.Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the companys indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshia hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dreamit is a work o...

Title : America for Beginners
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062668776
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 320 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

America for Beginners Reviews

  • Chelsea

    Mini Review

    A perfectly fine literary fiction debut. Nothing glaringly wrong with it, but nothing that particularly impressed me either. It’s quotable, but in a way that kind of feels like the author straight up telling the reader what the themes are. There’s a lot of info-dumping of backstory, which leaves the beginning of the story feeling stalled. However, the exploration of the intersection of culture and sexuality from multiple perspectives makes this book important and worth reading. 3 1/
    ...more

  • Allie

    I gave this book my sincere attention for around 30 pages before it started losing my interest. It was at this point that I realized why, after a while, the pages started feeling so laborious to get through. The summary, which describes the story as being about a woman traveling across America? It takes a third of the book for Pival to even get there (that's around 100 pages). Apparently it was very important that the story switch POV between 5 different characters and that you know their backst ...more

  • Marissa

    Goodreads Advance Reader's Edition

    A widow travels to America to find closure after her husband dies. She comes to America to find her son who died months before. She hires a tour guide and a companion to buy time as a ruse.

    It is more than a journey as it weaves the interactions of different cultures and even what we perceive as the same cultures has their own biases and beliefs

  • Shanti

    This is, quite possibly, the best book I have read this year. It is about the many forms of loneliness. It is about things which hurt. It is about forgiving people. It is about being a stranger in a strange land, and being a stranger in a familiar land, and what to do when you are both at once. It is about characters who ask questions which hurt.

    Pival is asking: Who am I when I am without the context of my family and my home?

    Rachel is asking: Who am I if I am not what I have always dreamed of b

    "Sideways had been the only way to approach anything."


    when he has washed ashore in the land of the brash and direct, prices, like other things, fixed and inflexible It is exquisite. As someone who has spent most of her life in India, I find that immigrant stories do not satisfy me, because I do not share any of that experience. But this felt like it really reflected my understanding of a country I can sometimes call my own.

    Leah Franqui is the best kind of writer. She uses frequent figurative language. Her prose is beautiful without being vain, which is honestly so hard to do (it's something I struggle with so much in my own writing!). All of the sentences make sense, the writing is never distracting, but it does evoke that sense of awareness that good writing does, where it makes you want to notice things in new and surprising ways.

    "Everything was fine, everything was great, everything was so light it could crush you."


    "Pival wondered if that's how ghosts were made, angry spirits whose bodies had been destroyed by time rather than fire."


    "The dirty fading glory of Kolkata crumbling under the weight of modern life."


    Franqui writes gracefully, using third person past tense, the best way to deal with multiple perspectives. The shifting from person to person never feels wrong, which it has in essentially every other novel like this I have read. Only once does she end a chapter with an opening door and an expansive unknown. Usually, I find this a cheap trick; but the use was so restrained as to be all the more compelling for it. The writing has moments of humour, too, like

    "The man could find rice in a pasta store."


    It all worked so well for me.

    I cannot recommend this novel enough, and I could write much more about it, but I have already stayed up late for this book once. I plan to buy it (I got it from the library) and reread it, and cherish it in every way. Being Indian is complex, and so is travelling, and so is death. America for Beginners is a book that deals tragedy as liberally as comedy, and it ended in the best way: with a river as dense as America, characters who were able to move on, but not without me caring a whole lot more in the process of their doing so.

    [tiny disclaimer: one of the reasons I picked this up is that I had a skype conversation with the author a few years ago for unrelated reasons, and she was amazing to talk to and I thought that she was fantastically cool and kinda #goals to be honest and so smart and funny and I love that she sews her own clothes, so you could say that I'm a bit of a fangirl. But even if you know nothing about Leah Franqui, her writing speaks for itself.] ...more

  • Lopa

    When I saw this book featured on Goodreads and read the summary, I thought I would enjoy the book. As I read the first few chapters and realized that one of the main characters is a Hindu Bangladeshi Bengali from Sylhet, like myself, I was even more excited to keep reading. I’ve never read a book that had such a character. Usually a book has a Bangladeshi character, they are Muslim since the country’s population is 90% Muslim. But as I kept reading, it was obvious that the author has no idea abo ...more

  • Stacey A.  Prose and Palate

    "I don't want to talk about my father," Bhim said, gently, to diffuse the sting. Jake thought for a moment. "What about your mother then?" Bhim smiles, a smile Jake had never seen before. It was a gentle spreading of his lips, soft and smooth. His face suffused with light, like he was thinking of something wonderful. "My mother is the reason that I love you," Bhim said simply. "She is the reason that I know what love is."

    My heart, ya'll. I loved this tender, beautiful book so much. America for B
    ...more

  • Rohan

    America for Beginners is an extraordinary debut by Leah Franqui. Once I finished the book, it gave me a tremendous sense of lightness and hope. It is something I wanted from a book for a while as I struggle to find a sense of hope from the world nowadays. After so many authors telling me what is wrong with the world and humanity, it warmed my heart to read something that told what was beautiful about humanity.

    In a world where nations and society are constantly looking inwards, America for Begin
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  • Neelam Babul

    An extraordinary story about a recently widowed woman, Pival Sengupta who was shadowed by the decisions of her husband forcing her to lose herself bit by bit.

    After his death she decides to travel to America not letting anyone know that the real intent is to trace her son Rahi who was estranged from her after an argument.

    During her tour we meet other characters like Satya, Rebecca, Ronnie and Jack who all have their distinct stories and challenges.

    The story is an intriguing combination of self
    ...more