Night Jasmine Tree, a Somerset award-winning contemporary novel, describes the hidden backstory of an Indian man's immigration to the U.S. The high caste protagonist fell in love with a lower caste girl in college, but she was rejected by his very conservative family. They married, but deep emotional wounds continued to torment him even after they were well settled in the U.S. The past cannot be willed away. Later, the arresting stories of his childhood and youth he innocently tells his American grandchildren, reveal the silent torment and struggles that originated in India. These poignant and heartwarming stories, touching and sublime by themselves, provide the backbone of this novel-the author captures those breathless, quiet moments that make life worth living.
How long can the protagonist carry on his playful veneer with the grandchildren? Will the past destroy him, or can he find peace?
A stirring portrayal of 'East Meets West' and 'Past Meets Present.' The novel exposes a deeply ingrained ailment of Indian society-their caste system, which pervades every aspect of life with subtle destructive force. One cannot put down this story of rebellion against conservative caste barriers. Romance, inter-caste marriage, family conflict, sacrifice, loss, and inner suffering in the end lead to the ultimate rise of the innate human heart to overcome all obstacles of familial rejection to love and peace-family love so purely described, it will remind the reader of their own family. A cathartic novel of triumph of the human spirit-moving, realistic, and uplifting.
The time frame of the novel expands from the 1950s to 2005 and takes place in Calcutta, India and the U.S. in Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, MI, and Bellport, NY. It describes childhood and youth in India, college romance, immigrant life struggles, settling and assimilation in the U.S.
The protagonist's story of bravery and sacrifice describes the American Dream at its finest, while celebrating the beauty of India and the wonderful culture it holds despite caste barriers. Two appendices tell what happens 'after', leading the reader to pure joy.
Discussion questions and an extensive glossary of Indian words make this novel a wonderful read but also a great gift to share-wonderful for all occasions. Excellent for school and college readings.