If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi by Neel Patel
To be published by Flatiron Books on July 10th 2018
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg: 4.08 (as of 2018-06-27)
cw: homophobia; sex; infidelity; racism; drunk driving; sexual assault/csa
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.
In eleven sharp, surprising stories, Neel Patel gives voice to our most deeply held stereotypes and then slowly undermines them. His characters, almost all of who are first-generation Indian Americans, subvert our expectations that they will sit quietly by. We meet two brothers caught in an elaborate web of envy and loathing; a young gay man who becomes involved with an older man whose secret he could never guess; three women who almost gleefully throw off the pleasant agreeability society asks of them; and, in the final pair of linked stories, a young couple struggling against the devastating force of community gossip.
If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi examines the collisions of old world and new world, small town and big city, traditional beliefs (like arranged marriage) and modern rituals (like Facebook stalking). Ranging across the country, Patel’s stories — empathetic, provocative, twisting, and wryly funny — introduce a bold new literary voice, one that feels more timely than ever.
We lived through the lives of our future selves, passing our remaining days in a fugue.
My rating for each story:
god of destruction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
hare rama, hare krishna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
hey, loser ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
just a friend ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
if you see me, don’t say hi ⭐️⭐️⭐️
the taj mahal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
the other language ⭐️⭐️⭐️
these things happen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
an arrangement ⭐️⭐️⭐️
world famous ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
radha, krishna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I should have felt guilty. I should have felt ashamed. I felt everything but.
My average rating was 3.86 stars, rounded up to 4. This was a beautiful collection of short stories. It only took me about two and a half hours to read through them all and I found myself thinking about them a lot in between sessions. In fact, several of the stories have stuck pretty hard with me since finishing the book.
There are a lot of characters with grey morality; you can understand their actions, but at the same time you know that they’re not necessarily doing the right thing. I found this to be really effective, as I was constantly torn with how I felt about them. There were only a couple characters who I outright disliked and even then, I still felt sympathetic towards them.
I definitely recommend getting your hands on a copy of this if you can.