Summary:

SEVENTEEN :: Check out the November issue of Seventeen Magazine for an excerpt from BORN CONFUSED as well as this month’s YM Magazine for a book review (on stands now). Interviews with Tanuja Desai Hidier up at Seventeen online and as well as http://www.Mehraab.com. BORN CONFUSED […]

SEVENTEEN :: Check out the November issue of Seventeen Magazine for an excerpt from BORN CONFUSED as well as this month’s YM Magazine for a book review (on stands now). Interviews with Tanuja Desai Hidier up at Seventeen online and as well as www.Mehraab.com.

BORN CONFUSED was recently selected as a Larry King/CNN.com pick of the week. Set largely in the context of New York City’s explosive bhangra/Asian Underground club scene, it is a multicultural coming-of-age story that follows Indian-American heroine Dimple Lala through a summer that turns her world on its head. The heart of BORN CONFUSED is about learning how to bring two cultures together without falling apart yourself in the process. More on Tanuja, including reviews, interviews, details on her rock band and film work, and contact information at http://www.ThisIsTanuja.com.

“Newcomer Desai Hidier crafts a frequently hilarious narrative whose

familiar teen-quest-for-identity plot is peopled with highly distinctive and

likable characters and is overlaid with a fearless and glorious sense of

linguistic possibilities that (along with some idiosyncratic punctuation)

seems positively Joyceanó. The exuberant, almost psychedelic riffs will catch

readers up in a breathtaking experience that is beyond virtually anything

being published for teens today.” §Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Despite a boom in literature of and about South Asia, surprisingly little

has been written about people like Dimple Lala. Born Confused, told through

the experiences of Dimple, is a rare and daring portrayal of immigrant teens

struggling to find themselves in places that seek to define them as something

elseó. Born Confused gives voice to a new generation of Americans and reminds

their fellow citizens to occasionally listen to it.” §USA Today

“Complicated, chaotic, and absolutely charming§welcome to seventeen-year-old

Dimple Lala’s life. In Tanuja Desai Hidier’s funny but far from lightweight

debut novel, Born Confused, the world of a teenager on the brink of adulthood

is perfectly capturedó. Think Jane Austen goes to Bollywood and you have a

small taste of this exuberantly insightful look at coming to terms with

identity§and sometimes listening to your parents.” §Seventeen Magazine

“Desai Hidier’s first novel is grand in scope, gamely taking on themes such

as bicultural crises, teenage angst, friendship, first love, drugs, and

sexuality, without ever being moralistic or trite… The territory she

traverses is completely new. Many have gone through the angst of bicultural

suburban teen life§with one identity inside the home, and another outside of

it§yet little has been written on the experience. After Born Confused all

that may be about to change.” §India Abroad

“The first-ever Indian American teen girl book: Tanuja Desai Hidier sucked me

in with her hilarious situations, larger-than-life characters and unsinkable

heart…. This book reads like a South Asian American version of a Jennifer

Love Hewitt movie and§honestly§I have been waiting for it all my life.”

§Neela Banerjee, Editor in Chief, Asian Week

“Edgier fare for older readers.” §Publisher’s Weekly

“For Indians born outside the country, identity is a critical issue often

articulated in a seminal book for the creative. Tanuja Desai Hidier, a former

New Yorker, is the latest to join the ranksó Born Confused is drawing rapt

attention.” §India Today

“A luminous, charming, perceptive first novel that proves that, despite

their cultural differences, teenagers are the same the world over.” §Kaylie

Jones, author of A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries and Celeste Ascending

“At last! A writer who’s captured the swirling life of an American-born

Indian teenager. Born Confused is an accessible, girl-meets-boy-meets-herself

tale, told with disarming honesty, and sentences that loop and curve with

gorgeous clarity. Desai Hidier manages to cram it all in§growing up in the

New Jersey suburbs, identity politics, love, bhangra, pakoras, music,

fashion, and friendship. She’s got a great ear for the inner and outer

thrummings of teenage life, and she can soar into word realms that are simply

stunning. Desai Hidier has opened the door to a whole experience that has not

been done before in young adult fiction§and she’s done so with scintillating

flair and energy.” §Marina Budhos, author of The Professor of Light and Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers

“Born Confused is a rollicking coming-of-age tale that brings the particular

confusions and contradictions of young Indian-Americans into a long overdue

spotlight. It is a blockbuster Bollywood movie crossed with a classic, making

it a New York musical in prose bursting with fresh idioms and youthful

energyó. Author Tanuja Desai Hidier has clearly spent many a rocking night in

New York City’s dance clubs and many a day in the suburbs where teenagers

dream of graduating from being B&Ts (Bridge and Tunnel people) to sophis

ticated denizens of Manhattan. One finishes Born Confused with regret,

wishing for a sequel from this fresh, new talent who writes with

laugh-out-loud humor, heart-twisting compassion and a great eye for the

telling detail that brings characters and settings to life.” §Mira Kamdar,

author of Motiba’s Tattoos: A Granddaughter’s Journey into Her Indian

Family’s Past

“Born Confused will certainly fill a void for an entire generation of young

desis who are looking for a book that tells their story.” §Suketu Mehta,

author of Bombay Stories, forthcoming in 2003 from Knopf (US) and Headline

Review (UK)

“Tanuja Desai Hidier captures the raw vitality of New York City’s club scene

without missing a bhangric beat, using it as a context to explore the

complexities of multicultural identity and human relationships. Born Confused

‘s female characters and the intensity of their friendships are particularly

powerful and have not often enough been explored or written about in this

way. I loved the book, and was sad it was over§I want more!” §DJ Rekha

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

TANUJA DESAI HIDIER is American-born and currently based in the UK. Prior to

moving, she lived in New York City, where she worked by day as a

writer/editor for magazines, CD-ROM projects, and websites.

Her first novel, BORN CONFUSED (Scholastic Press; October 2002) was recently

selected as a Larry King/CNN.com pick of the week. Set largely in the context

of New York City’s explosive bhangra/Asian Underground club scene, it is a

multicultural coming-of-age story that follows Indian-American heroine Dimple

Lala through a summer that turns her world on its head. The heart of BORN

CONFUSED is about learning how to bring two cultures together without falling

apart yourself in the process.

The book takes its title from the BC of ABCD, or American Born Confused Desi,

a slightly derogatory term that first generation South Asians in the States

and elsewhere use to describe these second generation Americans who are

supposedly “confused” about their South Asian background. (Desi is Hindi for

“from my country.”)

This theme of first and second generation India, and of finding your place in

America, figures prominently in much of Desai Hidier’s other work as well.

Her Partition-era short story, “The Border”, was awarded first prize in the

fiction category in the London Writers/Waterstones Competition in October

2001. Also that fall, her short story “Tiger, Tiger” was included in the Big

City Lit anthology (New York City) celebrating the last decade of

Asian-American writing. Earlier versions of both these works were part of the

collection of connected stories for which she was the 1995 recipient of the

James Jones First Novel Fellowship Award.

Desai Hidier’s short films, The Test (which she wrote and directed) and The

Assimilation Alphabet (which she co-wrote and -directed) deal with many of

the same cultural assimilation themes as her fiction. The Test has screened

at the Tribeca Film Center and as part of the 19th Asian American

International Film Festival, as well as in several other venues, including

the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Desh Pardesh festival

in Toronto. It received an Award of Merit from the 1996 Sinking Creek Film &

Video Festival at Vanderbilt University, and was included in the curriculum

of a New York University course in 1997, South Asian American Youth Comes of

Age.

Tanuja now lives in London, where she is lead vocalist/lyricist in a melodic

rock band. She is also songwriting for a “virtual” band project, with

participating musicians based in Los Angeles and London.

http://www.ThisIsTanuja.com

By Om Malik

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