A small sacrifice for enormous happiness : stories

by Chakrabarti, Jai,

Format: Print Book 2023
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Summary
"Beautiful, thought-provoking [stories] about the costs of wanting children" ( Kirkus Reviews ), from the National Jewish Book Award-winning author of A Play for the End of the World ("an impressive debut" --Meg Wolitzer)"

"Whether in Brooklyn, Kolkata, upstate New York or elsewhere, these characters captured my heart and endure in my memory like loved ones." --Mia Alvar, author of In the Country

In the fourteen masterful stories that make up this collection, Jai Chakrabarti crosses continents and cultures to explore what it means to cultivate a family today, across borders, religions, and race.

In the title story, a closeted gay man in 1980s Kolkata seeks to have a child with his lover's wife. An Indian widow, engaged to a Jewish man, struggles to balance her cultural identity with the rituals and traditions of her newfound family. An American musician travels to see his guru for the final time--and makes a promise he cannot keep. A young woman from an Indian village arrives in Brooklyn to care for the toddler of a biracial couple. And a mystical agent is sent by a mother to solve her son's domestic problems.

Throughout, the characters' most vulnerable desires shape life-altering decisions as they seek to balance their needs against those of the people they hold closest. The stories in A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness capture men and women struggling with transformation and familial bonds; they traverse the intersections of countries and cultures to illuminate what it means to love in uncertain times; and they showcase the skill of a storyteller who dazzles with the breadth of his vision.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Finely wrought characters grapple with culture clash, marital strife, and the troubles of parenthood in Chakrabarti's impressive collection (after the novel A Play for the End of the World). In the title story, wealthy Kolkata man Nikhil proposes to father a son with his secretly gay lover's wife, but things don't go quite as planned. The tile of "The Import" refers to the demeaning nickname Raj and his American wife Bethany use for the nanny sent by Raj's mother from India, who stirs conflicted feelings in Raj. In "The Prodigal Son," a New Yorker named Jonah, soon to be a father of two, impulsively sleeps with his guru's son on a trip to India and makes a wild promise he can't keep. In "A Mother's Work," Rani is hired by Indian families in New York City to impersonate their son's mother and scare off white girlfriends. Chinmoy in "In the Bug Room" has dropped out of his graduate program in the States and returns home, where he's soon embroiled in a battle of wills with his mother's devoted, manipulative servant. Throughout, Chakrabarti builds complicated and intriguing emotional situations, and his disquieting, unresolved endings leave the atmosphere unspoiled. This is a satisfying, vibrant exploration of family and identity. (Feb.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects short stories.
Short stories.
Nouvelles.
Publisher New York :Alfred A. Knopf,2023
Edition First edition.
Language English
Notes "This is a Borzoi book"--Title page verso.
Description pages cm
ISBN 9780525658948
0525658947
Other Classic View