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The marriage bureau for rich people / Farahad Zama.

By: Zama, Farahad.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : Amy Einhorn Books, 2009Description: 276 pages ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780399155581 (hbk.); 9780349121369; 9780349121376 (Abacus : pbk.).Subject(s): Dating services -- Fiction | Marriage -- Fiction | India -- FictionGenre/Form: Romance fiction. | Humorous stories.Summary: Mr Ali decides to open a marriage bureau that will cater for a wide range of Indian clients from all walks of life and, encouraged by the indomitable Mrs Ali, he has the good sense to appoint a local girl, Aruna, as his very able assistant. Under Mr Ali's and Aruna's imaginative care the marriage bureau flourishes as it sorts out the future for many happy clients, although meanwhile things are not running so smoothly for everyone in the office as Aruna is nursing a secret that threatens to break her heart, while Mr Ali is unable to see that he himself doesn't follow the wise advice he so readily offers to those who come for help...
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Mr. Ali, a retiree in a city in southern India, decides he needs something to do and opens a marriage bureau. He is soon so swamped with business that to assist him he hires a young woman named Aruna, whose Brahmin family has fallen on hard times. Zama is an admirer of Jane Austen, and though his debut does not exactly parallel one of her novels, there is a Mr. Darcy figure in the person of a handsome young doctor. The author also touches upon such pertinent topics as the caste system, the perils of political protest in India, and how the ordinary Indian is at the mercy of corrupt officials. But mostly this is a delightfully exotic love story (to Western readers anyway) with engaging characters and a happy ending. Mainly appealing to readers with some interest in Indian culture and customs.Leslie Patterson, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, RI Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Mr Ali decides to open a marriage bureau that will cater for a wide range of Indian clients from all walks of life and, encouraged by the indomitable Mrs Ali, he has the good sense to appoint a local girl, Aruna, as his very able assistant. Under Mr Ali's and Aruna's imaginative care the marriage bureau flourishes as it sorts out the future for many happy clients, although meanwhile things are not running so smoothly for everyone in the office as Aruna is nursing a secret that threatens to break her heart, while Mr Ali is unable to see that he himself doesn't follow the wise advice he so readily offers to those who come for help...

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Mr. Ali, a retiree in a city in southern India, decides he needs something to do and opens a marriage bureau. He is soon so swamped with business that to assist him he hires a young woman named Aruna, whose Brahmin family has fallen on hard times. Zama is an admirer of Jane Austen, and though his debut does not exactly parallel one of her novels, there is a Mr. Darcy figure in the person of a handsome young doctor. The author also touches upon such pertinent topics as the caste system, the perils of political protest in India, and how the ordinary Indian is at the mercy of corrupt officials. But mostly this is a delightfully exotic love story (to Western readers anyway) with engaging characters and a happy ending. Mainly appealing to readers with some interest in Indian culture and customs.-Leslie Patterson, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

A thriving arranged-marriage bureau in contemporary India resides at the heart of Zama's charming debut. The customers who visit Mr. Ali's bureau-a project he began in retirement to pass the time-are mostly pragmatists: they look for mates based on height, complexion, caste, economic status and religion. As business picks up, Mr. Ali, a Muslim, takes on a young assistant, Aruna, a poor Hindu girl, who helps him formulate happy unions. While the bureau prospers, Mr. Ali and his wife contend with their headstrong son, a human rights advocate who worries them constantly, and Aruna faces her dismal home life and a handsome young client who may want more from her than lists of potential matches. Zama's strength is in showing the love that makes the matchmaking system possible, looking at the reciprocity, trust and devotion that underlie marriage. Though the dialogue can tend toward the wooden and some problems work out too tidily, Zama's delightful world of mid-morning tea breaks, afternoon siestas, picnics in mango groves and meddlesome aunties is a pleasant place to hang out. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Zama's debut novel captivates the reader as an entertaining chronicle of a contemporary Indian matchmaking service and as insightful commentary on the lingering dictates of religion and class in modern India. Mr. and Mrs. Ali live in Vizag, on India's eastern coast. Several years into his retirement, Mr. Ali grows bored, so he opens a marriage bureau, where the city's well-to-do can come to find the perfect match for their offspring based on their unique requirements as to caste, religion, dowry amount, age, and height. The business flourishes, forcing Mr. Ali to hire an assistant, Aruna, a young woman whose family's financial collapse forced her to give up her postgraduate studies and go to work. Aruna has a knack for making even the most difficult matches failing only to find a young woman for a wealthy young doctor with especially picky parents. Zama sprinkles his lively narrative with morsels of everyday life and age-old traditions, from marriage and burial rituals to the making of mung-bean crepes all of which enrich and enliven his simple and engaging plot.--Donovan, Deborah Copyright 2009 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

A deft, warmhearted debut from Indian-born Londoner Zama about a retired civil servant who opens a matchmaking service on the verandah of his South Indian home. Growing bored of a life of leisure and not nearly pious enough to spend his days praying and socializing in the local mosque, Mr. Ali clearly has to do something to get out of Mrs. Ali's hair. Enter Ali's Marriage Bureau, boasting the "widest choice among Hindu, Muslim, Christian Brides/Grooms." That is not true, but with a combination of common sense and clever grassroots marketing, Ali, a born people person, soon has a bustling little business. His clients range from a nerdy salesman who doesn't quite get why a prospective bride and her parents would not be fascinated by valves, to a tiny young woman whose father insists she get a tall groom to give his future grandchildren the chance at normal height. Business is good enough for Ali to hire an assistant, a young woman named Aruna. Sweet-natured and modest, she shows a real aptitude for the job, which she needs to help support her parents and younger sister. Though Aruna secretly longs to be a bride, she has resigned herself to the fact that her proud, penniless family cannot afford the lush Hindu wedding and dowry expected of their aristocratic Brahmin caste. Fate seems cruel, then, when the eminently eligible young doctor Ramanujam walks into the bureau with his family looking for a suitable girl to settle down with. He and Aruna hit it off, but their future looks dicey. Love matches are frowned upon in this community mired in tradition, and it is up to Ali to come up with a solution that will make everyone happyif such a thing is possible. The novel touches upon the religious, class and gender inequalities of modern Indian society without getting weighed down by them. A charming, modest cross-cultural confection. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith's intrepid Precious Ramotswe are likely to find an equally engaging protagonist in Mr. Ali. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.