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With this collection of beautifully written, interconnected stories, Nalini Jones establishes herself as a strong, new voice in contemporary fiction. Home to her characters is a Catholic town in India—an India unfamiliar to most American readers—but the tales of their relationships, ambitions, and concerns are altogether universal, capturing the miscommunication, expectations, joys, and losses experienced by families everywhere.
A mother pours her religious fervor out in letters to her son whom she has sent away to seminary. Years after his father’s sudden death in a movie theater, an older man begins to see his long-dead parent riding a bicycle around town. A brash, eccentric aunt speaks her mind and leaves home without a trace, but not without haunting her godson. Returning home to tend to her mother’s cataract surgery, a daughter wonders how much she should reveal of her new life in the United States. American childhoods, Indian childhoods; love abroad, love at home—the worlds of these characters mirror and refract one another in a play of revelation and secret.
Gracefully and with deep emotional intelligence, Jones vividly evokes the ebb and flow of life across several generations and continents. What You Call Winter is a resonant, beguiling fiction debut.