America For Beginners: A Novel by Leah FranquiAmerica For Beginners: A Novel by Leah Franqui

America For Beginners: A Novel

byLeah Franqui

Hardcover | July 24, 2018

Pricing and Purchase Info

$30.06 online 
$33.50 list price save 10%
Earn 150 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Recalling contemporary classics such as Americanah, Behold the Dreamers, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a funny, poignant, and insightful debut novel that explores the complexities of family, immigration, prejudice, and the American Dream through meaningful and unlikely friendships forged in unusual circumstances.

Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkata to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival’s husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly—heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life.

Arriving in New York, the tour proves to be more complicated than anticipated. Planned by the company’s indefatigable owner, Ronnie Munshi—a hard-working immigrant and entrepreneur hungry for his own taste of the American dream—it is a work of haphazard improvisation. Pival’s guide is the company’s new hire, the guileless and wonderfully resourceful Satya, who has been in America for one year—and has never actually left the five boroughs. For modesty’s sake Pival and Satya will be accompanied by Rebecca Elliot, an aspiring young actress. Eager for a paying gig, she’s along for the ride, because how hard can a two-week "working" vacation traveling across America be?

Slowly making her way from coast to coast with her unlikely companions, Pival finds that her understanding of her son—and her hopes of a reunion with him—are challenged by her growing knowledge of his adoptive country. As the bonds between this odd trio deepens, Pival, Satya, and Rebecca learn to see America—and themselves—in different and profound new ways.

A bittersweet and bighearted tale of forgiveness, hope, and acceptance, America for Beginners illuminates the unexpected enchantments life can hold, and reminds us that our most precious connections aren’t always the ones we seek.

Title:America For Beginners: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.05 inPublished:July 24, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062668757

ISBN - 13:9780062668752

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written America for Beginners is, quite simply, the most beautiful work of fiction I have read in years. In a story rich with character and charm, Leah Franqui, has more than delivered in this debut work While there are numerous characters who’s stories weave life into this story, the focus falls on five lives, stemming from vastly different worlds, and each is somewhat lost; until their lives intersect. Each one having something to teach and much to learn. For most of the story we travel across America with three strangers who have come together out of necessity, only. Each of them is running from suffocation, shame, or fear in their lives; until, without realizing, they all start running towards something more. The two week journey has a profound effect on the course of their futures, and the future of another who is quietly battling his own desolation, unaware that he is about to be pulled back into the land of the living, whether he wants it or not. Most of us have found ourselves feeling lost, heartbroken, stuck, or the outsider at one time or another. In these times, observing someone else who is struggling can bring clarity to our own situations. Often, when we’ve decided we have our path sorted out and our decisions finalized, the universe subtly reminds us not to be too hasty; it shows us possibilities we never considered, if we are willing to open our eyes. This book is a love letter to America, and to India. It is a story about cultural differences and human sameness. While there is sadness and loss, there is levity, beauty, and bonds which transcend prejudice and religious differences. When I turned the final page and read the final words I exhaled sighs of hope. I was truly uplifted. America for Beginners, is on par with “The Kite Runner,” and “The Taliban Cricket Club,” where raw honesty, story quality, and emotion are concerned. I would recommend it to everyone who likes tales of travel, humanity, and love. The book is set for commercial release July 24th, 2018. Put it on your list. A huge thank you to William Morrow and HarperCollins, for an advanced readers edition. I loved every word!
Date published: 2018-03-21

Editorial Reviews

“A funny, feel-good cross-country tale… exactly the kind of story that we could use right now — people of different backgrounds coming together and realizing that they are more similar than assumed.”