No One Can Pronounce My Name: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Near Cleveland, Harit comes home from work every night and puts on his dead sister's clothing, pretending that she's still alive for his sick mother. Ranjana spends hours writing paranormal romance novels, trying to grapple with the thought that her husband might be cheating on her. As Ranjana and Harit's paths cross, they begin one of those weird, wonderful oddball friendships that upsets everything that once seemed impossible to change. This is a sweet novel that tells the story of how they each came to be so lonely, and how infinitely variable loneliness can be, and I loved Satyal's wry portrait of the selfishness and generous compassion that can coexist in relationships.

— From Christina


One of Goodreads’ Best Books of the Month
One of BuzzFeed’s 31 Incredible New Books You Need to Read This Spring
One of The Millions' Most Anticipated Books of the Year


In a suburb outside Cleveland, a community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. For some, America is a bewildering and alienating place where coworkers can’t pronounce your name but will eagerly repeat the Sanskrit phrases from their yoga class. Harit, a lonely Indian immigrant in his mid forties, lives with his mother who can no longer function after the death of Harit’s sister, Swati. In a misguided attempt to keep both himself and his mother sane, Harit has taken to dressing up in a sari every night to pass himself off as his sister. Meanwhile, Ranjana, also an Indian immigrant in her mid forties, has just seen her only child, Prashant, off to college. Worried that her husband has begun an affair, she seeks solace by writing paranormal romances in secret. When Harit and Ranjana’s paths cross, they begin a strange yet necessary friendship that brings to light their own passions and fears.

Rakesh Satyal's No One Can Pronounce My Name is a distinctive, funny, and insightful look into the lives of people who must reconcile the strictures of their culture and traditions with their own dreams and desires.

About the Author

RAKESH SATYAL is the author of the novel Blue Boy, which won the 2010 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Debut Fiction and the 2010 Prose/Poetry Award from the Association of Asian American Studies. Satyal was a recipient of a 2010 Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and two fellowships from the Norman Mailer Writers' Colony. His writing has appeared in New York magazine, Vulture, Out magazine, and The Awl. A graduate of Princeton University, he has taught in the publishing program at New York University and has been on the advisory committee for the annual PEN World Voices Festival. He lives in Brooklyn.

Praise For…

“A deeply charming tale of unexpected friendship.”Entertainment Weekly (Must List)

"It says something about both the reach of Satyal's story and his wry skill as a storyteller, that, while I was reading, I kept thinking of Barbara Pym...No One Can Pronounce My Name explores the politics of sexual identity, as well as the immigrant and first-generation American experience, but, unfashionable as it may sound, the novel's greater achievement lies in the compassionate, comic way it explores the universal human experience of loneliness.”Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“This story of trying to find one's way in a new country, and through grief, beautifully extracts and distills every single emotion. Readers will finish wanting more.”Rolling Stone

"An absolutely charming portrait of an unlikely friendship." The Seattle Times (Paperback Picks)

"Rakesh Satyal’s funny, big-hearted book is an interrogation of the possibilities of immigrant literature....Because Satyal’s cast is so diverse it’s easy to miss that he’s giving us the universality we hear so much about."The New Republic

“Gentle, funny and utterly charming.”The Seattle Times

"A big-hearted, hopeful, and often very funny novel about the unpredictability of love . . . as well as a celebration of how, in America, it's never too late to rethink who you are—or who you might become. Satyal has created a set of characters you'll cheer for."—Hanya Yanagihara, New York Times bestselling author of The People in the Trees and A Little Life

"Affecting, kindhearted, and infectiously readable, No One Can Pronounce My Name is full of memorable characters joined by their yearning to belong. Rakesh Satyal spins a funny and unpredictable multigenerational tale that glitters with warmth and wisdom."—Maria Semple, New York Times bestselling author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and Today Will Be Different

"This humane, moving, and very funny book offers something precious and rare: a novel devoted to the life-giving bond of friendship. Through a quintessentially American tale of misfits and dreamers, Rakesh Satyal has given us a fresh vision of America: a country of strangers seeking connection, of households lit with contrary desires, held together by resourceful and enduring love."—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

"No One Can Pronounce My Name is a warm, life-affirming story of reckoning with past secrets, forging unexpected bonds, and finding the strength to be yourself. This big-hearted, utterly charming novel explores immigrant experience and family life with humor and compassion."—Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You

"Satyal expertly describes the everyday struggles that define his characters, and he elevates the extraordinary moments of normal life in this skilled and thought-provoking novel."Booklist (starred review)

"A funny, uplifting novel that delivers emotionally complex characters."Kirkus Reviews

"Rakesh Satyal writes with both tender empathy and sly wit, and his characters are vulnerable, admirable, and idiosyncratic. No One Can Pronounce My Name beautifully explores the challenges of asserting individuality in the face of societal and cultural proscriptions. Movingly and believably, Ranjana and Harit find each other, and then, thanks to their lovely friendship, themselves."—Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man and The Astral

"Satyal captures his characters’ experiences within a close-knit Indian community, rounded out with excellent supporting characters...who have their own stories to tell, resulting in a vivid, complex tale."Publishers Weekly

“ enjoyable read with an East Indian flair.”Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250112125
ISBN-10: 1250112125
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: May 8th, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English