Yoga Hotel by Maura Moynihan

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Synopsis

In the 1970s, Maura Moynihan moved to New Delhi with her mother and father, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who at the time was U.S. ambassador to India. She wasfascinated by the country's contradictions: ancient religions amid urban chaos, the staggering disparity between rich and poor, and Indian familial tradition and the lure of Western novelty.

From three decades of deeply sympathetic observation came the inspiration for these stories, in which the characters' beliefs are challenged as they interact with those outside their culture. British and American expatriates mingle with Indian friends, colleagues, and servants, and the stories follow the change, or failure to change, that results. Hari, a young Indian servant, hopes for his amiable British boss's help in escaping a prearranged wedding. An American embassy worker named Melanie becomes disillusioned when her married lover uses her to get a visa. At a Himalayan retreat, a wealthy group gathers to seek spiritual enlightenment, but their altruism is tested when they are asked to buy dowries for a poor Indian family.

Through witty dialogue and engaging scenes, Moynihan examines how both easterners and westerners struggle for dignity. Replete with humor and poignancy, Yoga Hotel is a stunning literary debut from a writer who understands the complexity and universality of human hopes, fears, and desires.

 

About Maura Moynihan

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Maura Moynihan has worked for many years as a refugee consultant in India and Nepal, inspired in part by her childhood residence in Asia as the daughter of a U.S. ambassador. Andy Warhol launched her musical career and placed her on the coveted cover of "Interview" magazine. Her first collection of fiction, "Yoga Hotel", was a "Washington Post" bestseller. This is her first novel. She lives in New York City.
 
Published April 10, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 312 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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In “Paying Guest,” a nicely written story that doesn’t know where to end, an American Hindustani vocalist is housed by one of two artistically feuding families, eventually taking advantage of everyone who wishes to take advantage of her.

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Publishers Weekly

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Most engaging are the stories that offer insight into the country's social mores, such as "Paying Guest" and "The Visa," which present a humorous look at the jockeying for position that occurs in India's upper castes.

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