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The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure
272 pages; Algonquin Book
In this joyful memoir, Shoba Narayan moves from New York to Bangalore, India, where she was born but hasn't lived as an adult. There, outside her new apartment, she encounters the milk lady, a vendor who plies her with creamy treats from a local cow. The pasteurized, homogenized milk that Narayan formerly drank soon becomes a symbol for the Western world that she's left behind, and the fresh local milk, a symbol of India and the misgivings Narayan feels about embracing her heritage and history. "The reason I want to buy milk from a cow is because I am trying to recapture the simple times of my childhood," she writes. Although readers may find her analysis of Indian society illuminating and enjoy her breakdown of what makes a white, red, gold or smoke-colored cow worth appreciating, the real reason you'll love this book is the author herself: a woman so curious, funny and self-deprecating that she is able to show us—delightfully—how the past informs our future.
— Kerri Arsenault