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The Immigrant Paperback – 3 Dec 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571244076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571244072
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Kapur pierces the cooling heart of the relationship.' --Daily Telegraph

`Kapur explores the effect of a forced relationship and being so far from home.' -- The Times

`Kapur's novel persuasively explores the frustrations of a modern marriage.' --Sunday Times

Book Description

The Immigrant by Manju Kapur is a poignant, intimate and compelling new novel about starting anew and leaving the familiar behind, from the author of Home, A Married Woman and Difficult Daughters.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's hard to understand why novels about immigrants are often so dire - maybe, in their efforts to make two different cultures and countries seem real and important to the story, they either descend into stereotyped parody or make the novel one-sided. This novel isn't dire at all, though - in fact, it's very good.

Kapur deals delicately but firmly with the immigrant experience as she creates a world in which two very different people (Indo-Canadian dentist, Ananda, and age-conscious Indian lecturer Nina) struggle to settle in a new country - and adapt to married life.

For me, this book isn't just about immigration and the big cultural divide between India and North America. Instead, I thought it was much more about marriage itself - and how getting used to another person and a new way of life is a kind of immigration in its own right! Very funny and poignant by turn, a lot of the drama and the humour does revolve around the couple's nascent sex life. A fascinating insight into the process of getting used to a new situation and thinking through what is really worthwhile in a relationship. I found it well-written and carefully researched - an excellent read.
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By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is actually the story not of one but of two immigrants from India, Nina and Ananda. But it is the vulnerable Nina with whom the author clearly sympathizes and with whom, I guess, she feels a sense of feminist sisterhood. Ananda has his own vulnerabilities and one has to feel sorry for him without ever liking him.

After the death of his parents, Ananda had gone to Halifax, Nova Scotia to work as a dentist. He had no intention of going back to live in India and wanted nothing more than to become a proper Canadian. We see the adjustments he had to make to life in Canada. He did quite well; but the one thing he did not seem to manage was to establish a relationship with a Canadian girl. Back in India, his sister was trying to find him a wife. A matchmaker put her in touch with Nina's mother.

Nina is an academic in Delhi, whose "spiritual home is Europe". She is beautiful but unmarried, living in straitened circumstances with her widowed mother who is desperately anxious for Nina to find a husband. Nina has so far resisted all her mother's attempts, but at thirty she is herself beginning to feel desperate also.

Ananda flies to Delhi to see Nina; and though each of them is irritated by the pressures exerted by his sister and by her mother, Ananda has no doubts, and Nina, whose feelings are much more complex, eventually accepts him. The events around the wedding are beautifully described: already, though still in India, Nina is taken out of the world to which she was accustomed.

In Canada she has much more trouble adjusting than Ananda had had; and Ananda, with his own deep-seated insecurities, is insensitive, "never understood a word she was saying", and is unhelpful.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this following an Amazon recommendation... Based upon your purchases you may consider....
Normally their algorithm works really well and I am rarely disappointed by such recommendations. I am a great fan of contemporary Indian writers (Aravind Adiga, Vikram Chandra, Vikas Swarup etc) who produce really original work but this book is an insignificant everyday tale of a couple's relationship in difficulties. One can change the location and culture but are there not such difficulties in all relationships? I found absolutely nothing of interest in this book - the only positive quality I can recommend is that it is a very easy read. ie Do not read if you want to be challenged at all.
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Format: Paperback
As with the other reviewers I found this a fascinating and serious novel, dealing sympathetically with very real issues for ordinary people in challenging situations. Having said that, I have two quibbles: one addressed to the author, and one addressed to the publisher.
To the author: I found the degree of explanatory detail as to precisely how the two main characters (in particular, Nina) felt about everything they experienced was rather oppressive. I enjoy fiction where the feelings and thoughts of characters are conveyed more obliquely through their actions and conversation much more satisfying and giving me a little more scope for my own imagination.
To the publishers: the typesetting really needs some attention (I read the Faber paperback edition). The author uses dashes a lot (no problem with that) but the setters have regularly set hyphens in their place, and there seems to be a series of resulting unnecessary gaps between other words. This is seriously distracting and a poorer standard than I have seen for a long time.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Despite its title, this novel is not just about the immigrant experience but many other things too, such as marriage, sexual politics and relationships. Set in the 1970s at the time of Indira Gandhi and Pierre Trudeau (although the background is incidental rather than integral), first Ananda and then Nina emigrate from India to Canada. Ananda appears to settle and become a Canadian with apparent ease (although his sexual problems say otherwise.) His wife, Nina, finds it more difficult, not least because she is more intelligent. At one point she says to herself: "A woman, an Indian, an immigrant. Which comes first?'

The story unfolds slowly and methodically with no surprises (apart from a dramatic incident near the end which I felt was out of place.) It is not a difficult read. However, I felt it merely plodded along the surface of things in a linear way and whilst I understood with my head the problems that Nina, in particular, faced and the changes she felt she had to make, I never engaged with the characters with my heart.
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