Friday, May 6, 2011


Nothing like being quarantined in an airplane seat for 6 hours to get some quality reading done! And that is exactly what I did on my last JetBlue flight from California to New York. I had just received the Harper Perenial ARC of
QUARANTINE, a new short story collection by Rahul Mehta, and was eager to read it. So, I fastened my seatbelt, turned off the TV monitor in front of me, and settled in to eat my Munchies and get to reading!

The flap copy states:

With buoyant humor and incisive, cunning prose, Rahul Mehta sets off into uncharted literary territory. The characters in Quarantine—openly gay Indian-American men—are Westernized in some ways, with cosmopolitan views on friendship and sex, while struggling to maintain relationships with their families and cultural traditions. Grappling with the issues that concern all gay men—social acceptance, the right to pursue happiness, and the heavy toll of listening to their hearts and bodies—they confront an elder generation's attachment to old-country ways. Estranged from their cultural in-group and still set apart from larger society, the young men in these lyrical, provocative, emotionally wrenching, yet frequently funny stories find themselves quarantined.

Already a runaway success in India, Quarantine marks the debut of a unique literary talent.

I find it off-putting when a book that deals with a particular population seems to be solely marketed to that singular population, when in fact this book, as most quality literature does, speaks to universal themes. Quarantine addresses topics that we all can relate to: love, lost love, longing, and feeling torn between one's true self and societal or familial expectations.

My favorite stories were "The Better Person," "What We Mean," and "A Better Life." I liked how they explored how we use, or don't use, language in our lives. My main takeaway was that if we don't tell the full truth of our hardships we are not protecting the next generation, but rather making it harder for those who come after us.

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