In the 1970s, Maura Moynihan moved to New Delhi with her mother and father, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who at the time was U.S. ambassador to India. She wasfascinated by the country's contradictions: ancient religions amid urban chaos, the staggering disparity between rich and poor, and Indian familial tradition and the lure of Western novelty.
From three decades of deeply sympathetic observation came the inspiration for these stories, in which the characters' beliefs are challenged as they interact with those outside their culture. British and American expatriates mingle with Indian friends, colleagues, and servants, and the stories follow the change, or failure to change, that results. Hari, a young Indian servant, hopes for his amiable British boss's help in escaping a prearranged wedding. An American embassy worker named Melanie becomes disillusioned when her married lover uses her to get a visa. At a Himalayan retreat, a wealthy group gathers to seek spiritual enlightenment, but their altruism is tested when they are asked to buy dowries for a poor Indian family.
Through witty dialogue and engaging scenes, Moynihan examines how both easterners and westerners struggle for dignity. Replete with humor and poignancy, Yoga Hotel is a stunning literary debut from a writer who understands the complexity and universality of human hopes, fears, and desires.