DEEP SINGH BLUE
Fourth Estate/HarperCollins India
March 15, 2016
Deep Singh wants out — out of his family, out of his city, and more than anything, out of his life. His parents argue over everything, his dad passes his evenings shouting at the television, and his brother, who hasn’t said a single word in over a year, suddenly turns to him one day and tells him to die.
So when Lily, a beautiful, older, and married, woman, shows him more than a flicker of attention, he falls heedlessly in love. It doesn’t help that Lily is an alcoholic, hates her husband, and doesn’t think much of herself, or her immigrant Chinese mom either. As Deep’s growing obsession with Lily begins to spin out of control, the rest of his life mirrors his desperation — culminating in his brother’s disappearance and an unfolding tragedy.
Ranbir Singh Sidhu’s debut takes us into the heart of another America, and into the lives of “the other Indians — the ones who don’t get talked about and whose stories don’t get written.” With a sharp, funny and unsentimental eye, Sidhu chronicles the devastating consequences of racism in eighties’ America and offers a portrait of a wildly dysfunctional family trying its best, and failing miserably, to gain a handhold in their adopted country.
“Hip, twisted, funny, and devastatingly tragic, Ranbir Singh Sidhu’s vision of growing up in eighties’ California sticks a knife in the back of the coming-of-age novel and artfully resurrects its corpse. Clear-eyed, sympathetic, unsentimental—this is razor-sharp writing that never flags, and a novel with as much cut as heart.”
Robert Marshall, author of A Separate Reality
“Ranbir Singh Sidhu’s Deep Singh Blue is a brutal and darkly comic story of a young man’s journey into adulthood. This is that rare bird: a genuinely moving tale of love, loss and madness—and of a family that however hard it tries, can’t possibly hold itself together. An extraordinary novel, and a thrilling ride into the future of American letters.”
Jakob Holder, author of Housebreaking and Bedtime Solos
“The Indian American narrator of Ranbir Singh Sidhu’s breathtaking debut, Deep Singh Blue, is troubled, unlikable, and out of control. In flawless, terse prose, Sidhu gives us the tale of a suffocating and often unhinged family, and leads us to the kind of authentic sympathy that only tragedy provides.”
Titi Nguyen, essayist, The New York Times, The Threepenny Review and Ninth Letter
GOOD INDIAN GIRLS
“Achingly merciless, London-born author Sidhu’s 12 short stories sharply delineate the edges of identity and sanity… These haunting tales simultaneously attract and repel, enchant and shatter, evoking the ambiguous relationships between past and present, others and self… Deftly sifting through a range of less-often-visited emotions, Sidhu creates inscrutable characters inhabiting bewildering circumstances… Smart, provocative and poignantly disturbing, this collection, the author’s U.S. debut, signals a writer to watch.”
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“These stories are beautiful, complex, unpleasant, dark, tough-minded and often quite funny in their evocation of the absurdity of our global cultural salad… The destruction and reversal of everything—culture, history, convention—is Sidhu’s extremely powerful starting point for an immigrant narrative. [Sidhu] systematically undermines the concept of a coherent Indian emigre identity. These are Indians who have never lived in India, who don’t know how to put on a sari, and who wouldn’t go back if they could. Their India has burned.”
In twelve startling and vividly imagined stories, Ranbir Singh Sidhu overturns the lives of ordinary Indians living in America to bring us a bold debut collection, Good Indian Girls.
A woman attends a de-cluttering class in search of love. A low-level, drunkard diplomat finds himself mysteriously transferred to the Consulate in San Francisco, where everyone believes he is a great, lost poet. An anthropological expedition searching for early human fossils goes disastrously wrong and the leader turns to searching for the very first sounds made by humans. The wife of a retiring Consul pays tribute to her pet python by preparing to serve him to her dinner guests. The discovery of a skull outside an orphanage leads to the creation of a cult around one of the charismatic young residents.
Unsettling, moving, insightful, humorous — these beautifully written stories travel between despair and redemption as they illuminate the lives of often deeply flawed characters. This collection marks the emergence of a major new voice in American fiction.
“In twelve vivid stories, Ranbir Singh Sidhu paints tender, uproarious and incredibly insightful portraits of Indians living in America.”
Barnes & Noble Review
“Though weird and eccentric, Sidhu’s stories are also empathetic and refreshingly free of the clichés of immigrant narratives. He manages to portray his characters as uniquely Indian without losing sight of their individuality, offering small, piercing looks into the humanity that resides in every situation and person, no matter how strange.”
“With adeptly drawn characters, Sidhu demonstrates a dexterous grasp of the human psyche, while the prevalence of dark twists displays his love of the fatalistic. This propensity for the morose will be off-putting for some but is sure to please those with a taste for black humor and shades of the diabolical.”
“In Good Indian Girls, Sidhu aims to provoke, taking on issues of identity in the South Asian diaspora, featuring characters who are often deeply conflicted and in situations that are neither comforting nor cliché.”
“Border Song, among the lightest pieces in this collection, finds the transformative grace in grief and a closure of sorts that eludes characters in The Order of Things, a masterpiece of a story that could have you marvelling at Sidhu’s incisive and distinctive perspective for the Punjab experience of violence, exile and estrangement—both within India and abroad.”
Shalini Mukerjee, Outlook India
“Ranbir Sidhu is imaginative, with a dry, sly wit, very intelligent, and owns a wicked sensibility, all of which makes his fiction smart, daring, sensitive to human perversity, and keen in its observations. He is one of the most compelling and sophisticated younger writers today; and his writing is beautiful and entertaining.”
Lynne Tillman, author of American Genius A Comedy, and No Lease On Life
“When I first met Ranbir Sidhu, he was a resident at the Edward F. Albee Foundation in Montauk and while there, he displayed tremendous talent and dedication. His work takes risks, is often daring and imaginative, and I appreciate the intelligence he brings to his craft. I look forward to reading his new collection of stories, Good Indian Girls.”
Edward Albee, author of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
“Whenever I pick up a story by Ranbir Sidhu, I feel as though I’ve been released from the cedarwood closet of literature into the fresh air of active creation; as though I’d been fitted with brand-new high-tech earphones picking up an infinity of eloquent microphones cleverly scattered around the world. The pops and squeaks of new life crackle in my ears, and even when they’re threatening or saddening, I’m inevitably overcome by the hope that they’ll never stop.”
Harry Mathews, author of My Life in CIA, Cigarettes and The Journalist
“The first-person narrator of ‘The Good Poet of Africa’ despises poetry, repays compassion with insult, and enjoys lying to children. but, by story’s end, the moral universe will be turned on its head, and the reader will empathize with Ranbir Sidhu’s loathsome protagonist. This is writing of uncommon assurance and skill.”
Jeet Thayil, author of Narcopolis
“Stories out of the box fill up Sidhu`s anthology of short stories that craft extraordinary tales out of ordinary realities. It is a treat.”
Indo-Asian News Service