Priya Rao left India when she was twenty to study in the U.S., and she’s never been back. Now, seven years later, she has to return and give her family the news: she’s engaged to Nick Collins, a kind, loving American man. It’s going to break their hearts.
Returning to India is an overwhelming experience for Priya. When she was growing up, summer was all about mangoes—ripe, sweet mangoes, redolent with juices that dripped down your mouth, hands, and neck. But after years away, she sweats as if she’s never been through an Indian summer before.
But Priya’s relatives remain the same. Her mother and father insist that it’s time they arranged her marriage to a “nice Indian boy.” Just as Priya begins to feel she can’t possibly tell her family that she’s engaged to an American, a secret is revealed that leaves her stunned and off-balance. Now she is forced to choose between the love of her family (and all that they represent) and Nick, the love of her life.
As sharp and intoxicating as sugarcane juice bought fresh from a market cart, The Mango Season is a delightful trip into the heart and soul of both contemporary India and a woman on the edge of a profound life change.
The Mango Season touches on a very human conflict with delicacy and humor. Miss Malladi makes Priya’s ambivalence understandable and powerful. She resolves it well and with tongue-in-cheek wit…[This] is a lovely novel, filled with the small details and sensual evocations of life in India without neglecting the claustrophobic aspect of that life. The tug in Priya’s heart is genuine.
Corinna Lother, The Washington Times
Malladi’s skills as a writer are a fluent style, as useful for exposition as for capturing the voices of her characters, and her ability to focus on a topic and a region so clearly that she really does convey something of their feel.
Claire Hopley, The Harvard Post
[Amulya Malladi] uses simple, direct prose to paint fascinating pictures of people and places and allows them to come to life without being either subservient to them or patronising….If you come from the India she writes about, Malladi’s fine treatment of the subject will bind you in a happy complicity. If you are interested in reading about India, the novel will reward you, without seeking much effort in return.
Bhawesh Mishra, The Straits Times (Singapore)
Food is a tasty metaphor these day for delving into familial and cultural angst. In this latest dish, Priya returns to India after seven years in the United States to tell her family about her engagement to a non-Indian. But she finds her family’s cooking up a surprise dish of their own. Add dashes of other family drama, and you’ve got one spicy dish.
Carol Taylor, The Dallas Morning News
A powerful and evocative book that explores what happens when two cultures collide.
[The Mango Season] is a gentle, attractive novel with a great atmospheric feeling of India and its customs. Beautifully written.
Tim Manderson (Special Selection), Publishing News
A lush, beautifully written novel of contemporary India…it has a “Monsoon Wedding” feel: a glorious celebration of life and love.
Like the strong and unconventional Anjali in A Breath of Fresh Air, Amulya Malladi in her second novel provides us with yet another female character who fights her own battles and emerges scathed but victorious…Well-written with balanced portions of traditional tugs and contemporary needs, conviction and concern, The Mango Season is a work of soul searching, decision making, and strength building. Malladi’s second novel stacks up as a winner for women and a winner for readers.
Jeanne E. Fredriksen, India Currents
Amulya Malladi lays India out like a living picture before her readers. The smells curl out through the spine of the book, the tastes leave our throats burning with an unknown spice. The heat causes sweat to run down our backs, the curious sounds block the more familiar ones of cars and traffic from our ears.
Leah Stecher, Santa Monica Mirror
Amulya Malladi captures…the predicament of non-resident Indians who are torn between the two cultures of their native and adopted countries. The Mango Season is…the age-old story of whether one should follow one’s heart or walk on the true and tried path of tradition.
Sonia Chopra, Curled Up With a Good Book
The Mango Season is an informative as well as entertaining novel filled with interesting situations that highlight the rules of marriage and the importance of the institution in Indian society.
Wevonneda Minis, The Post and Courier
The Mango Season is one woman’s attempt to reconcile a traditional past with a modern future, while striking a balance between the two.
A young woman returns to her home in India after a seven-year absence and has a difficult time telling her family about her non-Indian fiancé. The story is an…entertaining…read about an extended family with dysfunctions.
Terry Hong, AsianWeek
The Mango Season is a panorama of Indian tradition…a dramatic portrait of a modern woman’s anguish over her inability to blend her two worlds. The story is told with beautiful word pictures. Malladi’s imagery makes one thirst for a juicy topping of HAPPINESS to end the story.
Judy Gigstad, BookReporter.com
Teens will identify with the family dynamics portrayed here, but those from foreign cultures will be most affected by this story of love and family.
Molly Connally, School Library Journal
In this passionately told story…Priya’s frustration, her family’s desires, and the heat during the mango season are all well conveyed. The result is a fascinating look at contemporary India.
Lisa Rohrbaugh, Library Journal
Malladi submerges the reader in fascinating cultural traditions and rich foods garnished with saucy humor.
Elsa Gaztambide, Booklist
Nicely seasoned: The spice of atmosphere and geography livens up a family saga and gives a fresh twist to a typical coming-of-age tale.
Malladi succeeds in giving a vivid sensory impression of the south of India, its foods and climate and customs.