The Heart Is a Shifting Sea by Elizabeth Flock
Love and Marriage in Mumbai

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“The Heart Is a Shifting Sea” is a sober portrait of middle-class yearning — an earnest inquiry into what it is one might reasonably dream of finding in marriage.
-NY Times

Synopsis

"Elizabeth Flock takes us on an intimate cruise on the shifting sea of the heart, in the best book set in Bombay that I've read in years. Flock's total access to her characters, and her highly sympathetic and nonjudgmental gaze, prove that love and literature know no borders. Easily the most intimate account of India that I've read, and of value to anybody that believes in love and marriage."—Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City

"This remarkable debut is so deeply reported, elegantly written, and profoundly transporting that it reads like a novel you can’t put down. It’s both a nuanced and intimate evocation of Indian culture, and a provocative and exciting meditation on marriage itself."—Katie Roiphe, author of The Violet Hour

In the vein of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, an intimate, deeply reported and revelatory examination of love, marriage, and the state of modern India—as witnessed through the lives of three very different couples in today’s Mumbai.

In twenty-first-century India, tradition is colliding with Western culture, a clash that touches the lives of everyday Indians from the wealthiest to the poorest. While ethnicity, class, and religion are influencing the nation’s development, so too are pop culture and technology—an uneasy fusion whose impact is most evident in the institution of marriage.

The Heart Is a Shifting Sea introduces three couples whose relationships illuminate these sweeping cultural shifts in dramatic ways: Veer and Maya, a forward-thinking professional couple whose union is tested by Maya’s desire for independence; Shahzad and Sabeena, whose desperation for a child becomes entwined with the changing face of Islam; and Ashok and Parvati, whose arranged marriage, made possible by an online matchmaker, blossoms into true love. Though these three middle-class couples are at different stages in their lives and come from diverse religious backgrounds, their stories build on one another to present a layered, nuanced, and fascinating mosaic of the universal challenges, possibilities, and promise of matrimony in its present state.

Elizabeth Flock has observed the evolving state of India from inside Mumbai, its largest metropolis. She spent close to a decade getting to know these couples—listening to their stories and living in their homes, where she was privy to countless moments of marital joy, inevitable frustration, dramatic upheaval, and whispered confessions and secrets. The result is a phenomenal feat of reportage that is both an enthralling portrait of a nation in the midst of transition and an unforgettable look at the universal mysteries of love and marriage that connect us all.

 

About Elizabeth Flock

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Elizabeth Flock is a former journalist who reported for Time and People magazines and worked as an on-air correspondent for CBS before becoming a full-time writer. The New York Times bestselling author of But Inside I'm Screaming, Everything Must Go and Me & Emma-a Book Sense Notable Title and Highlight Pick of the Year-lives in New York City. You can contact Elizabeth through her Web site at www.ElizabethFlock.com.
 
Published February 6, 2018 by Harper. 384 pages
Genres: History, Self Help, Travel, Parenting & Relationships, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

Good
on Nov 13 2017

Brought together by a matchmaking site and affirmed by astrologers, they agreed to marry after meeting in person only briefly. An eye-opening exploration of how tradition and star-studded dreams shape love in modern India.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao on Feb 05 2018

“The Heart Is a Shifting Sea” is a sober portrait of middle-class yearning — an earnest inquiry into what it is one might reasonably dream of finding in marriage.

Read Full Review of The Heart Is a Shifting Sea: ... | See more reviews from NY Times

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