Trova il tuo prossimo audiolibro preferito

Abbonati oggi e ascolta gratis per 30 giorni
America for Beginners: A Novel

America for Beginners: A Novel


America for Beginners: A Novel

valutazioni:
4/5 (38 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
11 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 24, 2018
ISBN:
9780062849120
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Descrizione

Recalling contemporary classics such as Americanah, Behold the Dreamers, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances.

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, Pival's husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly—heartbreaking 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 company's indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi—a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream—it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pavil's guide is the company's new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year—and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty's sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she's along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week "working" vacation traveling across America be?

Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son—and her hopes of a reunion with him—are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Pival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America—and themselves—in different and profound new ways.

A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren't always the ones we seek.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jul 24, 2018
ISBN:
9780062849120
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Informazioni sull'autore

Leah Franqui is a graduate of Yale University and received an MFA at NYU-Tisch. She is a playwright and the recipient of the 2013 Goldberg Playwriting Award, and also wrote a web series for which she received the Alfred Sloan Foundation Screenwriting award (aftereverafterwebseries.com). A Puerto Rican-Jewish Philadelphia native, Franqui lives with her Kolkata-born husband in Mumbai. AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS is her first novel.


Correlato a America for Beginners

Audiolibri correlati

Recensioni

Cosa pensano gli utenti di America for Beginners

4.0
38 valutazioni / 35 Recensioni
Cosa ne pensi?
Valutazione: 0 su 5 stelle

Recensioni dei lettori

  • (3/5)
    Yes!! I made it out of Las Vegas. Kind of an inside joke, with apologies to those who loved [book:The Goldfinch17333223], but I always say when referring to that book that I never made it out of Vegas. That's where I laid that book aside. Pival from Kolkata is going to America to try to find her son. Told by her husband after her son's sexual orientation was revealed, that he was dead. Now her husband is the one who is dead and Pival, for once is going to find out the truth. Three unlikely characters will find themselves in each other's company, which leads to some comedic moments. Touring the different sites on the travel itenary, allows the reader to visit for the first time or revisit some great sites. Some I had been to, some not. Along the way they find self confidence, some answers to their different questions, and find out the importance of friendship. The themes of family, prejudice and immigration make this not only an interesting read but a timely one. A debut novel and one well worth reading.ARC from bookbrowse.
  • (4/5)
    This beautiful debut novel was very emotional for me. After reading the reviews, it looks like it's either a 'love it or hate it' book with very little middle ground. For me it was a book that I loved with characters I won't soon forget.The novel is about three people who are trying to find their place in the world. They are different ages, have different backgrounds and ethnicity but their search for their futures shows that they are much more alike than even they think they are.The three main characters are well written and very believable. I enjoyed the way their views of each other changed during their tour of America. There is also some humor in the story - especially when Satya makes up stories about places in American that he's never seen and knows nothing about.This is a beautiful novel about love and families and forgiveness and acceptance along with a travel guide across America.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
  • (5/5)
    AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS by Leah FranquiThis was a delightful book. A conservative Indian lady seeks closure with her son’s death by taking a guided tour of America. Pival hires an Indian (she thinks) tour company that is really Bengali. Her “companion” is an erstwhile actress who is tired of life. Her tour guide has never led a tour before. These three mismatched characters, each with their own set of opinions and expectations find themselves and America as they travel. Pival’s son, his chosen lifestyle, his companion, and his life’s work become clear as the tour progresses. By turns hilarious and heartrending, America for Beginners presents an America like no other. The characters are interesting and well developed. The story line has great depth and insight. While reading, you might consider a tour of America you might arrange – especially the meals along the way. 5 of 5 stars
  • (4/5)
    Linda's Book Obsession Reviews "America for Beginners" by Leah Franqui, William Morrow, 2019Leah Franqui, Author of "America for Beginners" has written an intriguing, captivating, entertaining, compassionate, witty, and emotional novel. The Genres for this story are Fiction, Women's Fiction, and Multi-Cultural Interest. The story takes place in India and different areas in the United States. The timeline for this story is in the present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters and events in the story.  The colorful characters are described as complex, complicated, confused and flawed.When Pavil's husband dies, she is determined to leave India and find out if her estranged son Rahi is alive. Just prior to her husband's death, he had told her that someone called and said that Rahi had died.  That was before Rahi was banned from the family after he told his parents he was gay.Using a tour company that supposedly upper-class Indians use, Pavil finds herself with two members of the company. Satya is a young man from Bangladesh, and Rebecca, a young Jewish actress. Of course, Pavil is not supposed to know where her tour guides come from.  As they tour the different areas in the United States, the three are indirectly bonded in their search for different things.I appreciate that the author discusses topics such as prejudice, emotional instability and depression, dysfunctional families, and poverty vs. wealth. The author also mentions compassion, the importance of emotional support, family, friends, love, and hope. I would recommend this intriguing novel.
  • (4/5)
    Really enjoyed this novel! It's a light-hearted drama about an Indian widow going to America to find out the truth about her son . There are some sad scenes but, overall I smiled through most of the story.
  • (4/5)
    An Indian lady loses her husband so she decides to go to America with the ultimate goal of finding information about her estranged son. The son was disowned by his father when he told the family he was gay. To take the trip she hires an Indian owned tour company. The owner assigns to her a not so qualified guide and a single young American lady as a companion. (It was not appropriate fir a single Indian woman to travel without a chaperone.) An intriguing premise with much incite into cultural differences.
  • (4/5)
    If you enjoyed Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A PLACE FOR US, I highly recommend AMERICA FOR BEGINNERS.Three misfits set out on a journey across America, a journey of evolution, and are changed forever.Pival Sengupta, a newly widowed Indian woman, has booked a trip to America. Her servants are outraged! A woman just does not do this alone. But Pival is not going to see the sights of America. Instead, she is hoping to find her son whom her husband has told her is dead. After moving to America, Rahi revealed to his father Ram that he was gay and was immediately disowned. Then one night Ram took a call and told Pival it was from their son’s lover in America and that Rahi had died. On her trip to America she wants to see what Rahi had possibly seen in America, perhaps walk where he walked before he died. But did he die? She wonders if her husband lied to her. She has had her doubts since the death was so sudden and there was no body returned to India. She is determined to find out the truth. The characters in this story are each unique and all are engaging. From Mrs. Sengupta who is naïve about so much but determined in her mission, to Mr. Munshi, the hard-working Bangladeshi tour company owner who tries to pass himself off as Indian. The description of him that quickly comes to mind is a “snake oil salesman”. One has to wonder how his business remains open given his naivety. Pival’s guide is Satya who has only been in the US for a year and never outside New York City. He is sweet, extremely naïve, and always ravenously hungry. For reasons of modesty, Pival needs a female companion so Mr. Munshi hires Rebecca, an aspiring actress. This two-week tour being a companion sounds like a working vacation to her so she is thrilled to get the job.As Pival, Rebecca, and Satya make their way across the country they are challenged by their cultural and generational differences. But they begin to evolve in their own self-growth and learn to see the world through someone else’s eyes. They learn to appreciate the qualities the others have to offer. Barriers come down, animosities are forgotten, and true bonds are formed. There is humor, heartbreak, forgiveness, and acceptance. This story isn’t about where they travel but rather the voyage itself.I received an advance reading copy from William Morrow Books. This review is entirely my opinion.
  • (3/5)
    A pretty decent debut novel but a bit too much back story at the beginning of the book. It's about 110 pages until you really get into the story. I almost lost interest & stopped reading. I'm glad I didn't. I enjoyed the different point of view of each character & each was written well with strong individual voices. if only the beginning of the book hadn't been sooooo slow. I'm hesitant to suggest the book to others because I don't know that many people would slug through the beginning. Thank you to the publisher & LibraryThing for providing a free ARC for review via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
  • (4/5)
    Mrs Sengupta, a widow from Kolkata, books a trip across America to find out about her son. She is joined by the young tour guide, Satya, and an American companion who wants to be an actress, Rebecca. Mrs. Sangupta's son was gay, and her late husband forbid him to come home after he comes out to them. She is seeking answers about his life, the man he loved, and the country he chose. This is a charming story, well told, about the transformations each major character undergoes as a result of this two week whirlwind tour.
  • (4/5)
    This was an early review book and I really liked it. It was interesting to read about cultural expectations in India for a widow. The characters were believable and they found out about themselves as they traveled the country together. It was also the story of a mother coming to terms with the lifestyle of her son and finding courage she did not know she had.
  • (5/5)
    This book opens with Pival, a widow being basically browbeaten by her maids. She lives in India and instead of following the customs expected of her she has booked a trip to America – alone. Her maids are wailing that she will be attacked and never come home to them. They don’t know why she wants to make the trip. To them she is the quiet mouse the master married.But there is more to Pival than they know. They did not know her when she was young and vibrant. All her vitality was worn away by a husband who expected perfection and allowed for not a single wrong step. From her or their son. Their son who went to America and then told them he was in love with a man. Her husband disowned him, never talked to him again and didn’t allow Pival to either. Then he told her he was dead.Pival has decided to go to America to learn about the country that stole her son. She wants to find the man that “perverted” him and she needs to know if he really is dead. So she books her trip with a bit of a con man. He promises her a real Indian guide and a companion as she does not want to be alone with a man that is not her husband. These three unlikely people will embark on a cross country trip that will change all of their lives.The young guide and the actress hired to be her companion are both dealing with issues as they embark on the trip. These three strangers from three disparate backgrounds somehow manage to travel and learn together. After they reach the West Coast each goes back to their life changed and I would say invigorated.I was fascinated with this book. The characters were intriguing and compelling. Each one had depth and nuance. I felt for Pival – she was a force until this man she married destroyed all she was until she was just a shell of her former self. But then she found a small step back and another and another. The book held so much sadness yet so much hope too. There was love and laughter, happiness and pain. It was a book about life. It’s not the type of book you can just breeze through – it requires your attention but it is attention worth giving. Ms. Franqui is an author I’d very much like to read again.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this book. Bit slow in beginning. Liked how there was an ending.
  • (3/5)
    *I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.*It took me a while to get into this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it, because it turned out to be an incredibly sweet and romance tale. I wasn't quite sure how the different characters and stories were connected, but they all eventually wove together and crafted a lovely tale of a trip across America filled with grief and discovery. There is so much in this book to love - the descriptions of America from the perspective of another culture, the exploration and intricacies of stereotypes, the pain of loosing someone loved. If you're looking for a book to provide a multi-cultural perspective of America and pull at your heart, this book is highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    I received this book as part of LT early reviewers giveaway.All in all, a very interesting story of a journey taken with a definite end in mind. However, there were some minor typos in the book which have hopefully been corrected in the final version. Some minor inconsistencies like stating that there is a 9hr time difference between NY and India (it is 8.5 or 9.5 depending on the daylight savings). Also, some things like Satya's love for food were overplayed for humor. The ending felt a little rushed too. The book goes at a languid pace for about 85% and then a lot seems to happen in the last few pages.Nitpicking aside, I did enjoy the story and would definitely like to read more from the author.
  • (3/5)
    First, thank you to William Murrow Publishers/Librarything for an ARE edition of this novel for my enjoyment and review. Leah Franqui has done a good job, not a bad story about Pival Sengupta's travels to the US/California in search of her son. She travels with 2 others: Satya and Rebecca who learn about each other as they head for California. She has been told her son is dead, and she is in search of the truth. The plot line didn't keep my attention some of the time, but all in all, a good read.
  • (2/5)
    America for Beginners just didn't grab me the way that I'd hoped. I had a hard time connecting with the characters and with the storyline.
  • (4/5)
    “America for Beginners” is a debut novel from Leah Franqui. According to the Harper Collins website, the author is a graduate of Yale University, has an MFA, and is a playwright. She is a Puerto Rican-Jewish Philadelphia native and lives with her Kolkata-born husband in Mumbai. This is a well-written road trip of three unlikely companions, and the story is sometimes sad and sometimes charming but always told with a generous perspective full of heart and humor. The plot centers around Pival Sengupta, a Bengali widow who embarks on the biggest trip of her life to the United States to find out what happened to her disowned son. She enlists the services of a company called First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company for a cross-country journey across America from New York to Los Angeles accompanied by two young people. One is an inexperienced young guide named Satya Roy from Bangladesh who arrived in New York City in search of a better life. The other is Rebecca Elliot, the only child of well-educated, well-bred Jewish parents and an aspiring but struggling actress, who is hired as the ‘companion’ for Pival to maintain a sense of propriety for the journey.This is an enjoyable read that combines topics of geopolitics, cultural differences and assimilation, family expectations/disappointments, and diverse life choices with funny descriptions of American lifestyles, bad Indian restaurants, and looking for love. It's a good summer read and would make great story for a movie too.
  • (4/5)
    My Takeaway"My mother is the reason that I love you, Bhim said simply. She is the reason I know what love is."Leah Franqui, America for BeginnersAmerica for Beginners was a wonderful, quirky and heartwarming novel. And can we just admire the gorgeous book cover for a moment? I think it is simply beautiful! This debut novel featured three interesting (and completely different) individuals taking the road trip of their lives -- together. Their cross-country trip and ventures across the United States were at times discouraging and at other times quite humorous and heartfelt. I fell in love with Mrs. Sengupta (Pival), Satya, and Rebecca and could honestly picture myself being friends with them. Each character was searching for their place and purpose in the world and by the end of the novel, it felt they were closer to it. I enjoyed Franqui's whimsical writing, especially how she weaved the different culture and traditions of the main characters in a unique and engaging way. I also agree with other readers that it would make a great movie.
  • (5/5)
    There is nothing more exciting than reading a debut novel and falling in love with the story and characters. That just happened for me with Leah Franqui's America For Beginners.We begin with Mrs. Pival Sengupta, a recent Bangladeshi widow, planning a trip to America. We learn that Pival had an unhappy marriage to a man who verballly abused her, and banished their only son Rahi for a reason we come to learn later. Pival is "going to America to find her son or his lover. And to kill herself."Pival has contacted Ronnie Munshi of the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company to arrange for her visit. Ronnie is an Indian immigrant who worked his way up from dishwasher to owning his own tour company, catering to wealthy Bangladeshis.Ronnie has hired Satya, a poor young Bengali man pretending to be Bangladeshi, to act as Pival's guide. This will be Satya's first cross-country trip, and he is extremely nervous.Ronnie also hired an American woman, Rebecca, a young struggling actress who sees this job as a way to earn some money quickly to help her achieve her dream which is slowly becoming out-of-reach, to act as Pival's chaperone.Each of the above characters narrate chapters of this fantastic road trip story, alternating with Jake and Bhim's story. Californian Jake has fallen in love with Bhim, a young Indian scientist, who is reluctant to admit his love for Jake. Bhim tells Jake that in his home country it is not as acceptable to be gay as it is in America.We travel America, stopping first in New York City, then on to Niagara Falls, Corning, New York to see the glass factory, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New Orleans, Phoenix, Las Vegas and finally Los Angeles.As Pival, Satya and Rebecca traverse the country, staying in Comfort Inns and eating in inauthentic Indian restaurants, we visit famous American sights like The Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, The Liberty Bell, The Lincoln Memorial, and get to know Pival, Satya and Rebecca a little bit better.I loved this book. Franqui does an amazing job of giving each character room to breathe and tell his or her own story, and each story is more compelling than the next.But I felt closest to Pival, perhaps because we are both mothers of sons, but what a strong woman she is. She spent much of her life catered to and sheltered, never traveling far from home. Watching her open up was a privilege.Franqui writes so beautifully too."As Tanvi grew upset, her folding became increasingly precise and perfect, until you could have cut onions with the razor-sharp corners of the sari silk."And this:"She had thought Ram would be the antidote to the loneliness and longing she had begun to feel. Instead, he became the cause of both." I confess to reading the last few chapters through tears. Pival's story was so emotional and beautiful, and yes, sad.America For Beginners takes us on a road trip across the country, and on the trip that Ronnie, Satya, and Rebecca each take to get their share of the American dream that so many people long for and work to achieve. I highly recommend America For Beginners, and look forward to more from Leah Franqui.
  • (3/5)
    The first part of the book took me awhile to get into, it bandied about among several characters and I wasn't always certain of the timeline. Eventually, it settled in for the promised road trip and this is where the book really shined. Pival Sengupta is a widow who has never left the narrow confines of Kolkata since her marriage, much less the confines of her neighborhood. Her servants are aghast at her plans to go to America, where her only child, a son, Rahi (Bhim), went of to school never to return. She has contacted a tourism service that caters to Indians and one that offers this modest widow both a companion and a tour guide. What she doesn't know until she arrives is that Ronnie has made quite the business pretending he and all his guides are Indian, when in fact they are Bangladeshis. I found some of history and prejudices between these two groups well put in the frame of the story. Tour guide Satya is still fairly new to the US and very young and naïve in comparison to both women. Her companion is an unemployed actor, Rebecca Elliot, who finds leaving NYC almost a relief. As they cross America, from New York to their eventual destination in Los Angeles, I liked how the three characters began to grow both personally and with their unlikely friendship.
  • (4/5)
    I love to be an ‘armchair traveler ‘ .. the bold unique colorful characters in this story kept me entertained from India to California ... what an emotional road trip Leah Franqui has created in America for Beginners. Brava!
  • (4/5)
    4 starsThis is a fictional story of Pival Sengupta, a wealthy widow from Kolkata, India. Her husband Ram has been dead for several months and she decides to go to the United States, ostensibly to take a guided tour, but in reality to find out if her gay son, Rahi is alive or dead. When he came out to his parents, his father disowned him and forbade him from all future contact. Ram received a phone call shortly after Rahi announced that he was gay. Ram told Pival that Rahi was dead. But she never saw a death certificate, or received his ashes. She has an address in Los Angeles, where he and his partner lived.She has contracted a 2 week tour with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company, which is actually run by Ronnie Munshi, a Bangladesh immigrant. He has assigned a new hire, Satya, also from Bangladesh, as her guide. Pival also demands a female companion, for the sake of propriety.Ronnie hires Rebecca, an out of work aspiring actor to be the companion.How these 3 disparate people interact and discover things about each other, and themselves, makes for an interesting read. One quote on Ronnie's desire to keep secret the Bangladesh connection:"He would remind Satya to be as Indian as possible when he got a moment alone with him, and reprimand him for this one-hour-early-trick. And, he thought, make it mandatory for all his guides from now on."Thank you William Morrow for sending me this book through LibraryThing.
  • (5/5)
    Recently widowed Pival Sengupta is 60 and has never left Kolkata. Her late husband Ram had told her that their son Rahi died in Los Angeles but Pavil never really accepted the news and now she is planning her first trip ever to find out the truth for herself. Rosni (Ronnie) Munshi owns a travel agency in New York that books tours for Indian and Pakistani tourists. He is from Bangladesh, a fact that he tries to hide from his clients. Pavil pays for a two week tour of America and requests both a personal guide and, since she cannot travel alone with a man, a female companion. Ronnie assigns the inexperienced Satya Roy to be Pavil's guide and manages to find an American actress, Rebecca Elliot, to act as companion. The book covers their tour through Manhattan, Niagara Falls, the Corning Museum of Glass, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and finally Los Angeles. There are also chapters describing Rahi's life as a student in America. It is not the life his parents had anticipated. Rebecca is an employee but doesn't view herself as Pavil's servant and freely expresses her opinions and asks questions in a way that is foreign to Pavil and Satya. "Satya, however, seemed to view women as an alien species. Would he last two weeks traveling with two such creatures? He would have to." Pavil had been dominated by Ram and intimidated by their judgmental servants who were not on her side. Now on tour "She felt a surge of love and gratitude for Ram. After all, he had had the kindness to die." Over the course of the two weeks, Pavil, Satya and Rebecca face their own insecurities, misconceptions and prejudices. They share lots of bad Indian food and a few good tacos as they slowly get to know each other and Pavil learns to assert herself in ways she could not have imagined. I found all of the characters completely believable and charming. I would love to know what happens to Pavil, Satya, Rebecca and Ronnie after the book ends. The book was insightful, amusing, touching and really delightful. It was impressive from a new author and I would be happy to read more by her. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
  • (4/5)
    I was lucky enough to receive an arc of this book and am very glad that I did. I really enjoyed this debt novel about a widow that travels the country to find out what happened to her son. It was a fun read told from three different perspectives, and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. The characters were engaging and likeable, and the writing was captivating. All in all en enjoyable summer read!
  • (5/5)
    Following the death of her husband Pival Sengupta embarks on a fantastic tour of America, but her ulterior motive is to try to locate the son she hasn't heard from since her late husband disowned him. Accompanying her on this journey are a young Bangladeshi man trying desperately to conceal both his heritage and his extreme lack of experience guiding tours, and, for propriety's sake, a young lady, Rebecca, whose failed acting career is sending her into a depressive questioning of herself and her goals. As the three journey across the country they learn from each other and grow closer, although not as much or as quickly as I would have liked. I found myself nearly halfway through the book before the expositionary parts had ended and these people started to get real with one another. I suppose that makes it more realistic, but also less interesting. (Possible SPOILER) I also really, really wanted them to stop eating in "Indian" restaurants and get a taste of all the interesting food to be had around here!This review comes off as more critical than I feel about the book, though, because I just couldn't put it down and really came to care for the characters. I'd love to read more about them, though the ending was satisfying and complete. I might suggest this one for my next turn at picking our Book Club book...
  • (4/5)
    With thanks to LibraryThing for the chance to preview this novel. A charming story of an I Dian widow coming to terms with the death of her gay son in California.She embarks on a cross country tour with a Bangladeshi first time tour guide and an out of work New York actress as her companion. The three of them unexpectedly bond, as well as learn to face each of their own prejudices. I was really able to connect with each character with the authors sympathetic depiction and their fully developed personalities. A bittersweet and thoughtful story.
  • (4/5)
    This novel gave me a better perspective of the immigrant experience - it was provided by one of the main characters who is from Bangladesh. I liked all the main characters and hope someday the author might bring them back for an update.
  • (5/5)
    This book opens with Pival, a widow being basically browbeaten by her maids. She lives in India and instead of following the customs expected of her she has booked a trip to America – alone. Her maids are wailing that she will be attacked and never come home to them. They don’t know why she wants to make the trip. To them she is the quiet mouse the master married.But there is more to Pival than they know. They did not know her when she was young and vibrant. All her vitality was worn away by a husband who expected perfection and allowed for not a single wrong step. From her or their son. Their son who went to America and then told them he was in love with a man. Her husband disowned him, never talked to him again and didn’t allow Pival to either. Then he told her he was dead.Pival has decided to go to America to learn about the country that stole her son. She wants to find the man that “perverted” him and she needs to know if he really is dead. So she books her trip with a bit of a con man. He promises her a real Indian guide and a companion as she does not want to be alone with a man that is not her husband. These three unlikely people will embark on a cross country trip that will change all of their lives.The young guide and the actress hired to be her companion are both dealing with issues as they embark on the trip. These three strangers from three disparate backgrounds somehow manage to travel and learn together. After they reach the West Coast each goes back to their life changed and I would say invigorated.I was fascinated with this book. The characters were intriguing and compelling. Each one had depth and nuance. I felt for Pival – she was a force until this man she married destroyed all she was until she was just a shell of her former self. But then she found a small step back and another and another. The book held so much sadness yet so much hope too. There was love and laughter, happiness and pain. It was a book about life. It’s not the type of book you can just breeze through – it requires your attention but it is attention worth giving. Ms. Franqui is an author I’d very much like to read again.
  • (4/5)
    After Pival’s husband passes away, she books a tour of America with a travel agency specializing in giving tours to people coming from India. She is searching for her son that she and her husband disowned for being gay. Her husband told her their son was dead but she never quite believed him.Her tour guide is the inexperienced Satya. Because she is a single Indian woman traveling alone with a man, decorum dictates that she be accompanied by a chaperone. Enter Rebecca, an aspiring actress, also inexperienced in touring America.The set-up of this book has all the makings of a madcap road trip novel but this book is far from that. While there is some humor, it’s really a character study of not only the three people on the road trip but of Pival’s son and his boyfriend. Each person is on their own emotional inner journey. They are all richly drawn and I was rooting for everyone. America for Beginners is Leah Franqui’s first novel. I’m looking forward to whatever she comes up with next.
  • (4/5)
    America for Beginners reads like a wonderfully quirky independent movie. Mrs Sengupta, a widow from India books a tour across the US to find what happened to her son. However she doesn’t tell her tour guide or female companion, a Bangladeshi immigrant and an out-of-work actress, her real purpose. The characters are well-developed and the way Franqui shows the US through each of their perspectives is well-done. It’s sweet without being overly sappy. I think it would make a good book club discussion.