What starts as seemingly light reading featuring New York family and friends headed to an Indian wedding morphs into a spectacularly entertaining examination of race, wealth, hybrid identity, family dysfunction and maybe even a love story or five. Living in Mumbai and New York City, Diksha Basu, who used her home city of Delhi to immense success in her 2017 debut, The Windfall, returns with the dazzling Destination Wedding.
Tina Das is still single at 32 and has plateaued at her television producing job, when she attends a cousin's almost week-long nuptial celebration in Delhi. Upon arrival, the extended family is luxuriously accommodated at a posh country club in oversize private cottages with onsite staff, including chauffeured Mercedes. In between mandatory festivities, Tina tries to balance supposed-to-be-maybe-work with Sid, the gorgeous personal trainer from the Mumbai slums she hoped to cast for a series that went awry (who just happens to be in Delhi), and trying not to fall (again) for the charming Australian expat who already dissed her once. What a week this will turn out to be.
Basu, who previously made keeping up with the Joneses Jhas bitingly insightful, gives a similar eyebrow-arch to her characters here. In addition to the main cast, Basu's clever insertions revealing momentary glimpses into the lives of passing strangers--because everyone has a worthy story! Basu balances the haves and have-nots--both socioeconomically and emotionally--with deft assurance and expert timing. Her astute, often scathing, commentaries beneath the irresistible humor transform her fiction into a must-go literary destination. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon