Raised by Buddhist monks in Delhi after his mother’s untimely and tragic death, Eshaan sets out on the challenging quest to feed and nourish the hungry so they do not suffer her same fate. His attempts to achieve this monumental goal are constantly thwarted. And when his former girlfriend returns from Europe with a handsome fiancé in tow, his life becomes even more complicated.
A sliver of hope appears in the form of a local TV cooking competition. Winning would offer the solution to all his problems: money for his mission and the chance to impress the girl he loves. But to win this competition, Eshaan first must face a secret that has the potential to destroy his life and his dreams.
Can a young life that has been defined by a crisis ever really thrive? Will Eshaan’s pain-filled spirit ever hear the songs of salvation that the Universe sings for him, or will his demons ultimately win?
Celebrated food writer Monica Bhide dishes up a page-turning story of sacrifice, determination, and an honest exploration of the human spirit. Set in contemporary India and seasoned with gentle love, dramatic loss, enchanting poetic verse, and exotic food, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken will take you to a place where past and present keep uneasy yet delicious company.
The cover photograph is by the talented and award-winning photographer, Simi Jois.
I’ve been a huge fan of this author since I was invited to be on the blog tour for the wonderful The Soul Catcher. In fact Monica, knowing how much I loved the book, asked me if I would like a copy of Karma And The Art of Butter Chicken. I said I would be delighted. I had just started reading it when I was even more delighted to be invited on the blog tour, so here I am.
Such a thoughtful novel with the most delightful cast of characters – Eshaan Veer Singh, our main protagonist, Dr Sinha who lives near to the monastery where Eshaan lives with Lama Dorje and the other monks, his daughter Kitt, the love of Eshaan’s life, their friend Loveleen, unmarried and pregnant, the oddly named Radio Rani, and too many more to list.
However, I must briefly mention one of my favourites – Rani the Dogman – who brings his ten dogs to guard the entrance to Buddha’s Karma Kitchen, because I had this vision, not of a pack of Dobermans and Rottweilers, but a raggle-taggle group of barking, snapping Chihuahuas and scruffy terriers.
I loved this book! Such a mix of modern ideas – same-sex marriage (though still frowned upon by many in India), children born out of wedlock, trans people, Bollywood and designer fashion. Then on the other hand we have superstition – particularly from Mr Merry Merha who hates his neighbour Loveleen, not just because she is unmarried and pregnant, but also because she has a black cat which he believes is bad luck. ‘You are a witch,’ he screams at her during one of their weekly arguments. Dr Sinha’s sister Kimi Bua is also superstitious – everything not done according to tradition is not auspicious and will therefore curse the parties involved. Two different worlds colliding at every turn.
I dare you not to fall a little in love with Eshaan. He is so kind and generous, if a bit naive at times, and we feel his pain and suffering. We just want him to be happy. But he is his own worst enemy, Can he overcome his guilt and his demons in order to find happiness and fulfil his dreams? Wonderful stuff!
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours
About the Author
Monica Bhide is an award-winning writer, accomplished literary coach, gifted poet, storyteller, and educator with a lyrical voice and universal appeal. As a bestselling fiction and internationally renowned cookbook author, Monica is known for sharing food, culture, mystery, and love in her writing.
A respected writing authority, Monica appears regularly on NPR and conducts sold-out workshops on writing, food, culture, and scheduled speaking events at prestigious venues as the Smithsonian Institution, Sackler Gallery, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Georgetown University, and Yale University. She has taught all over the world including conferences in London, Dubai, US etc. She has also been the “Writing Coach in Residence” for the annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists.
Monica’s short story collection, The Devil in Us, topped the list on Kindle as a bestseller in its category of Literary Short Fiction. Her memoir, A Life of Spice, was picked by Eat Your Books as one of the top five food memoirs of 2015.
Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi picked Bhide’s Modern Spice (Simon & Schuster, 2009), as one of the “Best Books Ever” for Newsweek in 2009.
The Chicago Tribune named Monica “one of the seven food writers to watch in 2012”.
In April 2012, Mashable.com picked her as one of “the top ten food writers” on Twitter.
Her work has garnered numerous accolades and has been included in four Best Food Writing anthologies (2005, 2009, 2010, and 2014).
As a noted international food writer, Monica has built a diverse and solid audience through her books and articles in top-tier media such as: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ladies Home Journal, AARP-the Magazine, Parents Chicago Tribune , Christian Science Monitor, Bon Appétit, Town and Country Travel, Food and Wine, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Health, Better Nutrition, and many others.
Monica lives in Virginia with two sons.