Daswani, Kavita 1964-
Daswani, Kavita 1964-
Born 1964, in Hong Kong, China; married; husband a businessperson; children: one.
Home—Los Angeles, CA. Agent—Jodie Rhodes Literary Agency, 8840 Villa La Jolla Dr., Ste. 315, La Jolla, CA 92037.
South China Morning Post, Hong Kong, China, former fashion editor; freelance fashion correspondent, 1981—.
For Matrimonial Purposes (novel), Penguin Putnam (New York, NY), 2003.
Salaam, Paris (novel), Plume (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to CNN, CNBC Asia, Women's Wear Daily, Los Angeles Times, and International Herald Tribune.
For Matrimonial Purposes has been adapted as an audiobook, Brilliance, 2003.
Kavita Daswani's debut novel, For Matrimonial Purposes, has been compared to such popular works as Bridget Jones's Diary and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The story concerns the significant trials and tribulations of one traditional Indian woman who finds astonishing success in the business world but is still desperate to find a spouse who will satisfy her parents and her own sense of self-worth. Loosely based on Daswani's own life, For Matrimonial Purposes tells the story of Anju, who in her mid-twenties is considered a spinster with few prospects despite her wealthy father, her meddling mother, and her own fasting and prayers in search of a suitable mate. Eventually, Anju moves to America, where she finds a good job in the fashion industry. Still she cannot abandon the traditional practices and attitudes of her home in Bombay, so she generally avoids American men and continues her search for a proper Indian husband. Calling the work a "charming debut novel," Shirley N. Quan predicted in a Library Journal review that readers "will find it hard to stop themselves from cheering for Anju." On the Curled Up with a Good Book Web site, a reviewer commented: "Kavita Daswani has taken a simple story about an unmarried Indian girl and told it with mesmerizing intensity." The critic also described the novel as "a delicious and provoking read. The atmosphere is beautifully and authentically brought to life."
In her second novel, The Village Bride of Beverly Hills, also published as Everything Happens for a Reason, Daswani presents another romantic comedy. Young Priya's family arranges for her to marry Sanjary, who then takes his bride from India to Los Angeles. Once in America, Priya encounters her husband's demanding parents, who want her to be a good "Indian" wife, meaning that she is expected to attend to her husband's every need. Priya wants to be a journalist, but her husband's family forbids it. She eventually takes a job as a receptionist at a Hollywood gossip magazine. Once in the work force, Priya becomes "Americanized" as she turns to wearing Western clothing and begins to rethink the role of women in society and her role, specifically, as a wife. When she is given a chance to interview a Hollywood star, Priya becomes a successful reporter. Her new career sets her newfound views in plain sight of her family and husband, leading to a confrontation.
"This is just amazingly fun to read," Claire Rosser wrote of The Village Bride of Beverly Hills in Kliatt. "Daswani writes lovingly of Indian culture, both good and bad—the bad is usually couched in humor." In a review in Booklist, Kristine Huntley called the novel "a thoughtful romantic comedy," adding that "the heart of this … novel lies in how … [the couple] grow in their marriage." A Publishers Weekly contributor found another aspect of the novel to enjoy: "The novel's charm derives in large part from grounded details about the immigrant experience." Writing in the Library Journal, Karen Core referred to the novel as "a quick read with a likable, uncompromising main character," adding that "the happy ending will satisfy romance fans."
Daswani once again writes about conflicts between love and career in her third novel, Salaam, Paris. Tanaya Shah, who lives in Mumbai, India, is sent to meet the man her grandfather has arranged for her to marry. Her husband-to-be, Tariq, lives in Paris, which Tanya has always wanted to visit. Nevertheless, Tariq's reluctance to marry leads to the arrangement falling apart. When Tariq decides to remain in Paris, she accidentally gets a chance to become a runway model, leading to a successful career in New York. However, Tariq is disgraced in her family's eyes, and she longs to make amends. Kristine Huntley, writing again in Booklist, called Salaam, Paris "an engaging and sweet tale."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of The Village Bride of Beverly Hills, p. 1897; June 1, 2006, Kristine Huntley, review of Salaam, Paris, p. 36.
Entertainment Weekly, August 6, 2004, Jennifer Armstrong and Clarissa Cruz, review of The Village Bride of Beverly Hills, p. 85.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003, review of For Matrimonial Purposes, p. 553.
Kliatt, September, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of The Village Bride of Beverly Hills, p. 18.
LA Weekly, May 30, 2003, Hillary Johnson, "The Mating Game."
Library Journal, April 15, 2003, Shirley N. Quan, review of For Matrimonial Purposes, p. 121; July, 2004, Karen Core, review of The Village Bride of Beverly Hills, p. 69.
People, July 28, 2003, Moira Bailey, review of For Matrimonial Purposes, p. 37.
Publishers Weekly, October 7, 2002, John F. Baker, "Husband Hunting, Indian Style," p. 16; June 30, 2003, review of For Matrimonial Purposes, p. 54; June 21, 2004, review of The Village Bride of Beverly Hills, p. 42.
School Library Journal, October, 2003, Judy McAloon, review of For Matrimonial Purposes, p. 207.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (June, 2003), review of For Matrimonial Purposes.
Desi Journal,http://www.desijournal.com/ (September 30, 2003), Poornima Apte, review of For Matrimonial Purposes.
Flak Magazine,http://www.flakmag.com/ (September 30, 2003), Madhu Krishnan, review of For Matrimonial Purposes.