Sunday, March 19, 2017
Before We Visit the Goddess
This is the story of three generations of strong, determined, and headstrong women and the effect secrets had on their mother-daughter relationships. Sabitri learned the art of making spectacular Indian sweets from her mother. After she successfully sues a company for the wrongful death of her husband she opens a sweets shop which becomes immensely successful. But her workaholic ways and strident rigidity with her daughter, Bela, leads to abandonment when her daughter elopes to America with her shady boyfriend. Even after the birth of her daughter, Tara, Bela has very little contact with her mother until she enlists Sabitri's help when Tara drops out of college. Bela is a survivor, coping with a divorce and estrangement from her own daughter. She is befriended by Ken, a young gay man who lives in her apartment building. With his help she regains her self-confidence and begins a successful food blog and cookbook writing career. Tara tries to distance herself from her Indian heritage until a job puts her in contact with a visiting Indian businessman who takes her to the temple. Tara has her own problems and secrets that keep her away from her mother. By the end of the book multiple secrets are revealed that caused the behavior that created wedges in their relationships. Even Bela's dishonest ex-husband's secrets come to light and explain much of his behavior. There is a lot packed in this short novel and it's characters are fully fleshed and interesting.