GOOD INDIAN GIRLS
US Release: October 2013
(Soft Skull Press)
More at the book’s official tumblr.
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.
“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)
“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.”
“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
“Dysfunctional relationships, malfunctioning humans, stoned kitchen slick talk, psycho Bombay coolie madness, sex toy swashbuckling and subversive black operations based in NYC. I’m constantly delighted by Ranbir’s work! He is one of the great displaced Cali to Delhi via London, Brooklyn leather jacket rebels pushing the line. Armed with an instinct for the ironic and wicked intentions, Ranbir’s world is totally cool.”