The Milk Lady of Bangalore by Shoba Narayan
An Unexpected Adventure

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Despite this engaging mixture of science and culture, at times, the book has little forward momentum and relies too heavily on the relationship between Narayan and Sarala as its narrative spine.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

The elevator door opens. A cow stands inside, angled diagonally to fit. It doesn’t look uncomfortable, merely impatient. “It is for the housewarming ceremony on the third floor,” explains the woman who stands behind the cow, holding it loosely with a rope. She has the sheepish look of a person caught in a strange situation who is trying to act as normal as possible. She introduces herself as Sarala and smiles reassuringly. The door closes. I shake my head and suppress a grin. It is good to be back.

When Shoba Narayan—who has just returned to India with her husband and two daughters after years in the United States—asks whether said cow might bless her apartment next, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between our author and Sarala, who also sells fresh milk right across the street from that thoroughly modern apartment building. The two women connect over not only cows but also family, food, and life. When Shoba agrees to buy Sarala a new cow, they set off looking for just the right heifer, and what was at first a simple economic transaction becomes something much deeper, though never without a hint of slapstick.

The Milk Lady of Bangalore immerses us in the culture, customs, myths, religion, sights, and sounds of a city in which the twenty-first century and the ancient past coexist like nowhere else in the world. It’s a true story of bridging divides, of understanding other ways of looking at the world, and of human connections and animal connections, and it’s an irresistible adventure of two strong women and the animals they love.
 

About Shoba Narayan

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SHOBA NARAYAN has written for Travel & Leisure, Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, Newsweek, House Beautiful, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. She is a regular guest on NPR’s All Things Considered Weekend and a recipient of the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Distinguished Writing, given by the James Beard Foundation. Narayan graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, which awarded her a Pulitzer Fellowship. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her website is www.shobanarayan.com.From the Trade Paperback edition.
 
Published January 23, 2018 by Algonquin Books. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Milk Lady of Bangalore
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Nov 14 2017

A witty and tender story that endears readers to Indian culture and one of their most sacred symbols, the cow.

Read Full Review of The Milk Lady of Bangalore: A... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by ANJALI ENJETI on Jan 19 2018

Despite this engaging mixture of science and culture, at times, the book has little forward momentum and relies too heavily on the relationship between Narayan and Sarala as its narrative spine.

Read Full Review of The Milk Lady of Bangalore: A... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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