Welcome to Summer Reads 2017 where I’ll be reviewing a series of “not just cookbooks”.
Though I’ve said my “Summer Reads” this year will be more than just cookbooks, you won’t be surprised to hear that many of the books I’ll be writing about have a little something to do with food 😉 I guess I just can’t help myself! This week, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Monica Bhide‘s debut novel, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, a delightful read that kept me company in my first few days here when I had bad jetlag (it didn’t help the jetlag at all because it kept me up -sign of a good read!).
If you don’t know Monica, she’s a talented food writer, teacher, speaker and consultant who I have so much respect for. Early on in my blogging days, I took one of her online classes and it was some of the best “invest in the blog” money I have ever spent. She’s continued to cheer me along virtually since then and I had the chance to meet her in person last year when I headed to a food writing seminar she was giving in Washington, DC (coincidentally, just before I received my own book deal offer!). She is a kind, generous soul who writes beautifully.
Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken tells the story of Eshaan whose mother dies when he is very young. Literally on death’s door, he is rescued by Buddhist monks and taken to live in a teaching monastery in Delhi where hs finds his place, helping others Living in the teaching monastery, helping out where he can (he feels most at home in the kitchen), Eshan sets a goal in life – to make sure others don’t suffer the way he did before he found his new life. Mostly, he simply wants to feed others. He is generous to a fault and his quest to open a “Karma Kitchen” (where he work with homeless people, teaching them how to cook and feeding them) is made extremely challenging because of his lack of funds (he can’t help helping others, even if it puts him at a disadvantage). The story is set in modern day India and deals with contemporary issues such as poverty and homelessness, exploring different ways of helping people recover from what seem like hopeless situations. Eshaan’s own situation with his unattainable goal is compounded further by the appearance of his childhood sweetheart who returns to Delhi with her handsome and well-to-do soon-to-be husband in tow making Eshaan’s life even more complicated. At one point, it looks like his whole world is caving in – the kitchen has opened but it’s not going quite as expected – but the karma in the novel’s title comes back to help out just when it’s needed.
This is a tale of doing the right thing. Of passion and determination. Of facing reality and facing past demons. And ultimately, of karma. I won’t reveal more than that! The many plot twists will have you on the edge of your seat, cheering on Eshaan in his quest to do what he knows is right. This is a feel-good read at its best.
Please note: This post contains product links from Amazon and The Book Depository which are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken. I have not been further compensated for writing this post and all opinions are 100% my own. Full disclosure: I consider Monica a friend and colleague but even if this was not the case, I was happy to spread the word about her work. Monica’s husband recently suffered a massive heart attack so your support for her work is especially appreciated at this difficult time. In typical Monica-style, though, she’s finding a way to do good despite the hardship.
Despite all that my family and I have been through, we’re so blessed that he’s made it, he’s getting better, that friends and family gathered around, supported us, and validated my belief in the goodness of humanity. I want to repay my blessings and gratitude by helping others the only way I know how: to write,” Monica says. “So many of us face challenges that seem larger than life. I want to use the next few months to capture everything I have learned to help people cope and thrive no matter how difficult life gets. I want to do my part to lift individuals in the world.
If you’d like to help Monica realise her goal of writing a book to help caregivers in challenging situations cope, you can donate here.
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