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25 May 2009 @ 07:50 pm
Blue Boy, by Rakesh Satyal  
My editor at HarperCollins, Rakesh Satyal, has recently published his own debut novel, Blue Boy. Here's the link to the Amazon listing, where you can see the excellent customer reviews.


I don't know the ethics of a writer reviewing her editor's work, so for now I'll just say this: Satyal has achieved what he set out to do, as explained in his Q&A at the end of the book: write a "humorous" and "playful" account of growing up Indian (Punjabi)-American in Middle America (Cincinnati).

Blue Boy is what is often called a "coming of age" story, about a boy's recognition and acceptance of his homosexuality. But this book, like the best of these, is so much more than that. Everyone who knows Satyal or works with him uses the same word to describe him: "brilliant," and this characterization is what distinguishes Blue Boy from so many similar stories. Satyal's voice is witty, sharp, somewhat cruel—the marks of a, dare I say it? —very masculine style.

While the author's focus on his Indian heritage and his "differences" from the other children give the book a unique flavor, it's important to stress, as other reviewers have said, that the story's appeal is universal. A middle-aged, white-bread, New York woman, I was drawn in and captivated from the beginning, made just uncomfortable enough by the acerbic humor, the critical but affectionate look at Punjabi culture and the minutely observed descriptions of people's physical appearance to know I was reading the work of a master.

Satyal will be reading at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble (Broadway at 66th St.) on Tuesday, May 26, at 7:30 (sorry for short notice).
Gaedhalgaedhal on May 26th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
I saw this in Borders last week and made note of it. Now
I'll certainly check it out!

ann_amalieann_amalie on May 26th, 2009 07:33 am (UTC)
You're welcome!

What do you think about my posting a review on Amazon--with full disclosure of my author/editor relationship? More harm than good? Or helpful?
Gaedhalgaedhal on May 27th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
Why not? I've seen people post reviews of people they
know -- one I read was posted by an author's brother.