A Plus Book Club

Rakesh Satyal Wants You To Recognize The Humorous Side Of Being An Immigrant

His book, "No One Can Pronounce My Name," was this month’s pick for the A Plus Book Club.

Last week, Associate Editor Lindsay Geller and I met with author Rakesh Satyal to talk about his novel No One Can Pronounce My Name, and the moments and interactions that fall outside what is typically expected of the "immigrant experience" in the U.S. The book was chosen for the September meeting of the A Plus Book Club

The novel takes place in an Indian American community living in the suburbs of Cleveland and follows the two middle-aged immigrants who, through their developing friendship, reconcile what their culture and the greater American culture define them to be with the people who they actually are. But in this journey, Satyal finds the humor in, for example, an Indian American woman who is secretly having her own Stephenie Meyer moment rather than the tragedy. 

"I had this almost survey in my mind of what people think Indian American literature is or even immigrant literature," Satyal said. "The thing I kept coming back to was that most of the stories that we read in that vein center around a grief narrative. There's something sad that happens, but regardless what happens in the book, that's the emotion that's given the most importance. Regardless what happens, sadness is the is the most viable. And I don't necessarily think that's true. I think even when people go through trauma, it's the levity that they go back to."

Check out the full conversation in the video above, and be sure to join us for next month's A Plus Book Club. As always, if there's a book you'd like to see featured, send your requests to bookclub@aplus.com.

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