No Other World: A Novel
Western New York, 1985: Twelve-year-old Kiran Shah stands longingly outside the window of the Bell household, secretly observing the movements of the prototypically American family. He attends school with Kelly Bell, but he's powerfully drawn, in a way he does not yet quite understand, to her charismatic father, Chris.
Kiran is the American-born son of Indian immigrants struggling to adjust to life in a new world. His father, Dr. Nishit Shah, is a successful doctor haunted by the brother he left behind in India. His mother, Shanti, tries to settle into the life that was chosen for her-Nishit and Shanti's was an arranged marriage-even as she develops romantic feelings for handsome local Chris Bell. And Kiran is close to his beloved older sister, Preeti-until one summer afternoon, when an unexpected threat and an unfathomable betrayal drive a wedge between the two, with repercussions that stretch far into their futures.
As Kiran grows and enters young adulthood, he finds himself perpetually on the outside-not just as an Indian-American torn between two cultures, but as a gay man in a time and place where homosexuality is not tolerated. In the wake of an emotional breakdown, Kiran travels to India, where he forms an intense bond with a teenage hijra, a member of India's ancient transgender community. With her help, Kiran will attempt to pull together the pieces of his broken past.
With a large cast of complex characters and a narrative that shifts between rural America and small-town India, NO OTHER WORLD is a haunting meditation on our responsibilities to our families and to ourselves, the difficult choices we make and the people we hurt in our efforts to claim the lives that belong to us.
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