The Golden Son: A Novel by Shilpi Somaya GowdaThe Golden Son: A Novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

The Golden Son: A Novel

byShilpi Somaya Gowda

Paperback | January 3, 2017

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Summer of Canadian Reading 2019

Internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter

The Golden Son is a “sensitive and intelligent work” that tells an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honour and tradition, in which two childhood friends must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts (National Post).

Anil is the cherished eldest son of a large family from an Indian village, expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her dear parents. As childhood friends, they are inseparable—but with the pressures and complications of adulthood, their paths begin to diverge.

Anil is the first in his family to leave India and become a doctor half a world away in Dallas, Texas, where he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture. In India, Leena dreams of a strong, true love like the one shared by her parents and leaves her beloved home to join her new husband’s family in a distant village.

Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart. Many years later, their lives intersect once again. Altered by their choices and experiences, these two old friends are reunited when they need each other most. A tender and bittersweet story of friendship and family, The Golden Son illuminates the decisions we must make to find our true selves.


Title:The Golden Son: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:432 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.97 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.31 × 0.97 inPublished:January 3, 2017Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443412503

ISBN - 13:9781443412506


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love. I really enjoyed reading this book. Great character build up. Great story.
Date published: 2018-05-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love the writting! Grab a coffee, you'll be sat for the afternoon! Gowda's writing is so lovely you'll not want to put the book down. Delving into a country and culture, I could almost smell the incense and feel my feet in the earth. My heart ached, longed for, feared and pained with the characters. A story typical to new immigrants in search of a better life soon finding out that their heart never leaves home. A story of trials, triumphs, new beginnings, cultural differences, love, loss and devastation. It's that diverse that it has a bit of everything for everybody. To Enjoy!
Date published: 2018-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really great book An all-around really great book. For fans of Nadia Hashimi. Well-written, unique story, and interesting cultural exploration.
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyed it Really enjoyed reading this book. Felt like a drama movie.
Date published: 2018-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Important themes This novel helps the reader gain understanding of cultural differences, and important insights into the plight of women in India. I enjoyed the story very much until the end when I found the events somewhat unlikely.
Date published: 2018-02-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book I just loved this book, it is hard the pressures that are put on young people sometimes. It was a good read and I enjoyed it.
Date published: 2018-02-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from More like a Bollywood movie than a serious novel A young man from a respected family in rural India travels to the southern U.S. to begin a prestigious internal medicine residency. Now living away from India for the first time in his life, he struggles to maintain relationships with friends and family back home and reconcile his own values and beliefs with this vastly different culture in which he must immerse himself to achieve professional success. While Gowda is adept at creating an interesting and fast-paced plot, her characters lack depth and she tries too hard to incorporate as many trendy South Asian social issues as possible into the book—including dowry, caste, intimate partner violence, a poor farmer’s suicide, racism, frowned-upon interracial relationships, and oppressive traditional family expectations—regardless of whether they enhance the overall story or not. Ultimately, The Golden Son has more of a cheap Bollywood movie feel than that of a serious novel—a disappointment after her lovely debut novel Secret Daughter.
Date published: 2018-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from amazing read A great story - I loved this book. Not as good as the secret daughter but still a great read.
Date published: 2017-09-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from no This has to be the weirdest book I have read. What a bunch of descriptive nonsense
Date published: 2017-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully crafted and a captivating read! After "The Secret Daugter", I had high hopes for this book and it's safe to say that this book surpassed all of them. The intertwining of two lives is crafted beautifully by this novel, making it a very hard book to put down.
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another great read by this author. If you loved The Secret Daughter, you will love The Golden Son.
Date published: 2017-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I couldn't put the book down - and pushed through it in less than a week. It triggered a full range of emotions. Amazing!
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Golden Son is a great read! I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Daughter, so I decided to also read the Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda and I was not disappointed! Shilpi Somaya Gowda does such a wonderful job of immersing the reader in a different world and connecting the reader with the characters in the story. It would have been 5 stars if the ending didn't feel quite so rushed, but it was a great read nonetheless!
Date published: 2017-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Enjoyed I agree with Sarah (review below) about the ending feeling a bit tacked on and rushed but I really did enjoy the rest of the story! I was invested in the characters and I really loved the story when Anil returns home for visits!
Date published: 2017-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting read I bought this one after reading The Secret Daughter. It did not disappoint either. Was not quite the ending I was hoping for, but it was an interesting, informative book.
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good until the end I fell in love with the characters all the way through. Then the end just seemed like the author got sick of the story and tacked an ending on to it.
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a story! A great addition to your library.
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read, characters you will care about I recommend reading "The Golden Son". It took me almost 100 pages in to really get hooked. The beginning was good, but it doesn't have alot action or emotional events happening. But buy it - The rest of the book more than makes up for that! My favorite book set in India is "A Fine Balance", which I would also recommend if you enjoy reading stories about Indian culture and the caste structure.
Date published: 2017-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a story! An excellent addition to any library.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another great book from this author After reading The Secret Daughter, I was eager to read another book by this author. It doesn't disappoint. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Remarkable "The Golden Son" is a memorable and remarkable novel. It demonstrates and exemplifies the struggles immigrants and foreign exchange students deal with when leaving their home country for new opportunities. A worthwhile read.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A tale of two cultures As with the author's other book, Secret Daughter, the narrative unfolds between India and the USA, drawing the obvious cultural differences, but introducing the strengths and weaknesses of both. The often experienced tension between family responsibilities and professional ambition is nicely dealt with.
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed this book. Such a great book! highly recommended!
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Torn on this one... An interesting read from different perspectives and cultures. Interesting, but it didn't hold my attention as other books. Predictable and a bit boring at times.
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! This was a really great book. Highly recommend it! :)
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read This is the first book i have read from Shilpi Somaya Gowda and really enjoyed this book from start to finish. The storyline was heartfelt as the two main character's Anil and Leena struggle in their adult lives and drift off to their childhood friendship. Anil is an intern at a Dallas Hospital while Leena battles her abusive marriage leading to escaping that life. Was hoping for a different ending for these two main character's yet still the ending made me smile.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this Author Bought this book after reading another book by the same author - she is an amazing story teller! Definitely recommend
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not bad A bit of a tear jerker but worth it.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read Great Read. Sometimes, I smiled and at times, I would be close to tears. I could relate with the main characters struggles, being an immigrant. Having read this book, I look forward to reading the first book by the author.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely read Being a foreigner myself I could really relate to the character and his struggles which made it even more appealing to me, Ms.Gowda has a talent, the story, the language, everything is top notch. You turn the page and you don't want it to end even though the ending might be a bit predictable. It still keeps you wanting for more.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Predictable but worth it 3.5. Good story with multiple characters you get to hear from and care about. I loved Anil's roommates and the friendship they formed, and seeing how strong Leena is in overcoming what's happened to her. The story just felt a little too surface-level and predictable, and I found myself comparing it to other similar books which I enjoyed more. Still a nice read with an ending you can be satisfied with.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Written, Beautiful Story I loved this book even more that Gowda's first book, "Secret Daughter." The story sweeps you up into itself and transports you across international borders and cultural lines. Authentic and well written, this story beautifully navigates the challenges of family and cross-cultural, multi-generational relationships. This was one of those stories that I didn't want to end.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Surface level stories but still nice Good story with multiple characters you get to hear from and care about. I loved Anil's roommates and the friendship they formed, and seeing how strong Leena is in overcoming what's happened to her. The story just felt a little too surface-level and predictable, and I found myself comparing it to other similar books which I enjoyed more. Still a nice read with an ending you can be satisfied with.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent Excellent, well written I could not put it down!!
Date published: 2016-02-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down. I often find a book difficult to catch my interest and keep it, but Gowda has captivated me again as she did in "The Secret Daughter". I find her to be great storyteller, weaving her characters in and out of happiness, sadness, fear, etc. I loved it.
Date published: 2016-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Great story. One of those books you can't set down and miss the characters when the story is over.
Date published: 2015-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Story What I love about Shilpi Somaya Gowda's books, aside from the extraordinary storytelling, is that they open windows for me to peek inside of cultures and experiences outside of my own. Somewhere I heard that one benefit of reading is that it develops a greater sense of empathy in the reader as compared to the non-reader. I don't know if that is true, but reading The Golden Son extended my understanding and feelings of empathy for immigrants, for the oppressed and abused, for grown children and for parents of grown children. That may sound like this book is a total downer or dark in some way but actually the opposite is true. Gowda has written an adventure story; a love story; a story of family, community and friendship; of overcoming the odds to reach your dreams. It is a story that seamlessly weaves together these themes and creates a warm and uplifting story for the reader to get lost in. No spoilers - but I absolutely loved the ending, which seals the deal for me. The Golden Son has a place on my list of favourites.
Date published: 2015-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from enjoyed I enjoyed this author's previous novel, The Secret Daughter more than this book, but it is still enjoyable. I felt that it got a little too "hollywood" for me at times although I do find there is so much truth in gowda's books as to just what the situation is within some families in India with regard to the rights of women and this is portrayed very eloquently in her writing.
Date published: 2015-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Resonating Anil is the golden son, the eldest of his siblings and one who is taking on the great responsibility as the Arbiter for his community, even if he does move to Dallas, Texas for a medical internship. I very much admired his character. His mother warned him to stick to his Indian values of staying away from meat, alcohol, and girls. His rebellious side was certainly enjoyable, and one anyone would be curious about, whether or not they reside in North America. He’s taken a risk in a new culture but still honest to his heritage in his homeland. A beautiful coming of age story where Anil begins this journey at the age of 23, an age I am very quickly approaching as I write this and also a big factor as to why I deeply connected to this story. Being Indian myself (culturally, being born and raised in Canada), the culture is very similar, but I for one don't know much at the top of my head about my culture, nor read as much fiction on this topic as I’d like to. Shilpi has woven another remarkable story, like Secret Daughter, and authentic to the Indian culture; one that can be reflected for those of the same background or those wanting to explore it. The ignorance and denials of the characters in India are very relatable and true in its form. What I love about cases or situations that I see in stories is every character's point of view; The Golden Son included. It’s when the reader knows each side and then seeing it unravelled to the other characters. Their reactions may be ignorant or be in denial. But as the events absorb them, truth be told or not, the overall result comes to a fair conclusion, such as this case as well.
Date published: 2015-10-29

Editorial Reviews

"Gowda masterfully develops place and characters with visual richness. She offers delicious storytelling. . . . The Golden Son is an absolute page-turner."