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In her follow-up to the highly acclaimed The Holder of the World, Bharati Mukherjee has written an audacious, often deadpan funny story of a young woman's strong-arm struggle for reinvention against the hammer hold of the past.
Debby DiMartino, saved from death in infancy by Indian nuns, and adopted by loving American parents in Schenectady, New York, can't figure out if she is someone special or just a special kind of misfit. Her quest to track down her biological parents takes her deep into the counterculture of San Francisco and the legacy of Viet Nam, where she becomes "Devi Dee," a woman who begins to discover a past and present that defines her own role in an ultimately shocking, yet compelling universe. A cocky, breakneck-pace read, Leave It to Me is Bharati Mukherjee at her provocative best.
"There is much to puzzle over, and also much to admire, in Mukherjee's in-your-face, zeitgeist-funny, and always disturbing novel." The Globe and Mail
"Šan astute, ironic and merciless insight into an aberrant version of the American dream." Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
"Pain and sorrow, hurt and humiliation, rage and violence Bharati Mukherjee deftly mixes these elements into a disturbing, explosive tale of 1990s AmericaŠ" The Ottawa Citizen
Bharati Mukherjee is the author of six previous novels, including Jasmine and The Middle man and Other Stories (which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1989), and two books of nonfiction, written with her husband, Clark Blaise. Born in Calcutta, she came to the US in 1961 to complete her Master of Fine Arts and Ph.D. She is a professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley.
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India-born author Bharati Mukherjee has long used fiction to explore issues of identity and culture, often through displaced characters--Indians coming to the West (Jasmine) or Westerners heading to Asia (The Holder of the World). In Leave It to Me Mukherjee approaches the same issues from a fresh angle; protagonist Debby DiMartino grows up in a middle-class, Italian-American family in Schenectady, NY, yet she is "a tall girl in a small school, a beautiful girl in a plain family, an exotic girl in a very American town." Debby is adopted, abandoned as a baby by her American hippie mother and Eurasian father in India, where she was placed in a Catholic orphanage until the DiMartinos took her in. Growing up, Debby identifies herself by what she is not; at age 23, after a brief, disastrous love affair with a Hong Kong ex-movie star, she decides to find out what she is.
Debby's search for her birth parents takes her to San Francisco, where she lifts a new name off a vanity license plate and begins a new life as Devi Dee. Along with her old identity, Debby/Devi sheds her old conventions, becoming a "Tenderloin prowler, all allure and strength and zero innocence" as she lives out of her car in Haight Ashbury, befriends the crazy, the strung-out, and the paranoid who populate its streets, and begins her hunt for the woman who gave her life--a search that will lead Devi into an apocalyptic confrontation with a most unexpected demon. In Leave It to Me Bharati Mukherjee has created a hip, violent, and darkly funny look at what it means to be an American at the end of the 20th century.From the Back Cover:
"A very fine writer, funny, intelligent, versatile and, on occasion, unexpectedly profound."
--The Washington Post Book World
"MUKHERJEE IS FEARLESS . . . DARING AND WITTY . . . Take the wild ride with Debby DiMartino from Albany to San Francisco, from lost child to masked avenger."
--The Boston Globe
"POWERFULLY WRITTEN . . . Debby has no memory of her birth parents. All she knows is that she was born in a remote Indian village, the daughter of a hippie back-packing mother and a mysterious Eurasian father, both of whom have disappeared almost without a trace. . . . Her quest for her biological parents turns into an obsession. . . . Leave It to Me . . . shows Mukherjee at the peak of her craft. . . . Mixing the Greek myth of Electra with the Indian myth of Devi, she sends Devi/Debby careening down on the Bay Area like an elemental force of vengeance."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"DEVI IS A BRILLIANT CREATION--hilarious, horribly knowing and even more horribly oblivious--through whom Bharati Mukherjee, with characteristic and shameless ingenuity, is laying claim to speak for an America that isn't 'other' at all."
--The New York Times Book Review
"STUNNING . . . An astute, ironic, and merciless insight into an aberrant version of the American dream."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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