by Abha Iyengar
172 pages – published October 2014
paperback ISBN: 978-1-925101-59-1
eBook ISBN: 978-1-925101-60-7 / Kindle ISBN: 978-1-925101-61-4
Reena Rajan leads a busy life as a part-time businesswoman and full-time housewife, when a fish and a private detective arrive, unannounced, on her Delhi doorstep. Over many cups of tea Reena and her unlikely accomplice Harinmoy Banerjee grapple to find answers to big city problems, to discover their place in the changing mix of old India and modern India, and to uncover the fishy goings-on next door in Flat No. 69, Seaside View Apartments.
what people are saying about Many Fish to Fry
In Many Fish to Fry, Abha Iyengar examines some of India’s deeper social issues in a thoughtful, yet light-hearted, humorous way, and illustrates the struggle to rise above the constraints of tradition, patriarchy and old-fashioned beliefs.
Iyengar’s combination of colloquial language and Western slang mirror real-life trends of language and culture in India. Her deft hand with dialogue and use of Indian English bring the characters to life so well that they almost jump off the page. These characters are three-dimensional and engaging, from Delhi housewife Reena, with her wry approach to dealing with what a woman is expected to do or be versus what she wants, to Super Sleuth Harinmoy, with his colourful outfits and odd figures of speech.
Iyengar’s poetic yet economical use of language speaks to all five senses. I can feel the touch of a welcome breeze through a thin sari on an oppressively hot day, and visualise the scales of the Hilsa fish glinting in the morning sunshine; the warm scents of various spices seem to fill my nose with their presence; I want to bite into the glistening laddoo Reena finds in her kitchen, and sip her “masala tea, (made) the dhaba way.”
Many Fish to Fry is a pleasure for the intellect and the senses.
Chris Galvin Nguyen, from her Foreword
Many slices of life fried to a perfect crisp! Abha Iyengar’s unmistakable eye for detail and the absurd makes for a quirky and layered novel. Many Fish to Fry is an intricate, well-paced and humorous look at marriages and lives around us.
Nandita Bose, author of Tread Softly and The Perfume of Promise
The many faces of the modern Indian woman: the victims and the survivors, the compromised and the entrepreneurial. A page-turner as rich as masala tea – the dhaba way.
Christopher Allen, author of Conversations with S. Teri O’Type (a Satire)
A cheerful tale with a distinct flavour of Delhi. Apartment intrigues, insecurities, the hunt for that perfectly cooked fish and endless cups of tea – a warm story that you can relate to!
Vasudev Murthy, author of Sherlock Holmes in Japan
Many Fish to Fry is about a woman happily squeezed between two generations – a woman of two generations…
Reena is starting her own business. She goes online for TED Talks. She supports her daughter’s career, not only her son’s. She is forever watching her weight. But Reena is also a woman who likes to stop a while for tea and gossip, as women did when they had more time on their hands. She still cooks for the whole family, fully-grown children included. And she calls her husband “liberated” for having made a cup of tea.
Many Fish to Fry provides a shock of recognition for anybody who has grown up in tradition but winks at the new world, behind her mother’s back!
Luisa Brenta, author of The Company of Men