Special Feature: Polite Society by Mahesh Rao

I love seeing all the new cultural twists on Jane Austen’s classic novels in recent years and this is one I have been looking forward to for quite some time.

I have read a couple of retellings this year and have loved them so much. The cultures add different and colorful things to learn about and love and this book promises to be an exciting take on the classic story of Emma.

A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma with a touch of Crazy Rich Asians set in Delhi, in which the daughter of a wealthy Indian family aspires to match-make for her friends and family, only to find herself caught up in an unforeseen scandal–and an unexpected match of her own.

Beautiful, clever, and very slightly bored, Ania Khurana has Delhi wrapped around her finger. When Ania finds love for her spinster aunt, she realizes her potential as a force for good.

For her next match, Ania sets her sights on Dimple: her newest, sweetest, and, sure, poorest friend. But her good intentions may be misdirected, and when her aunt’s handsome new nephew arrives from America, the social tides in Delhi begin to shift. Surrounded by money old and new, navigating gossip, scheming, and an unforgettable cast of journalists, socialites, gurus, and heirs, Ania discovers that when you aim to please the human heart, things seldom go as planned.

Using Jane Austen’s Emma as a springboard, Polite Society takes us into the lives of a group of characters we never want to part with. Pairing stiletto-sharp observation and social comedy with moments of true tenderness, this delicious romp through the mansions of India’s elite celebrates that there’s no one route to perfect happiness (summary from Goodreads)

About the Author

Mahesh Rao was born and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. He studied politics and economics at the University of Bristol and law at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics. In the UK he has worked as a lawyer, academic researcher and bookseller. His short fiction has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Baffler, Prairie Schooner and Elle. His debut novel, ‘The Smoke Is Rising’, won the Tata First Book Award for fiction and was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the Crossword Prize. ‘One Point Two Billion’, his collection of short stories, is being published in October 2015.

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