Thursday, February 12, 2015

Secret Daughter - Shilpi Somaya Gowda

My sister gave me this novel when I asked her for something I could read on the plane ride home from my recent visit with her. It is the story of three women: Asha, a young woman who was adopted from India and brought to the United States as a baby; Somer, Asha's adoptive mother; and Kavita, Asha's birth mother. The three stories are woven together as Asha goes on a voyage of self-discovery. Ultimately there is resolution and redemption for all.

The Lane Library at Stanford University's School of Medicine is important to Somer as the place where she met her future husband. Serious students, they both spent more time there than their fellow medical school students
It was almost a decade ago, under the dull yellow lights of Lane Library at Stanford's School of Medicine, that they first noticed each other. They were there night after night, and not just on the weeknights when the rest of the class studied, but on Friday nights, instead of going out to dinner, and on weekends, when the others went hiking. There were only a dozen of them, the Lane regulars: the most studious ones, the hardest workers.  
There is no doubt in this librarian's mind that Somer's heavy use of the library was a direct result of the fact that her mother worked in a library, although Somer "has never understood how her mother stay[ed] interested in such a mundane job." This after learning that her mother has just rearranged the reference section to make way for some furniture and was working on organizing a series of workshops on biographies of famous women. Really, how could anyone call that mundane?

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