This Freedom

This Freedom is also available at Amazon.com as a paperback copy through Print on Demand. The book can also be purchased through iTunes in either iBook or for the Kindle App on iPod, iPad, and iPhone.

The remarkable debut novel, This Freedom, by Rashmi Sharma Singh, is about immigration to the US (both legal and illegal), and also to India (after its partition in 1947). In the tradition of Ron Takaki, this is a historic story of Americanization: what immigrants get, and what they give up, as they buy into the American Dream, and bravely become part of E Pluribus Unum.

It is set in a very human, fictional, family story of a mother named Swatanter (her name means freedom), and her daughter Devi (her name means goddess), and their small, extended family in, and around Berkeley, California. The backdrop to the story is freedom, within the thorny subject of arranged marriages, in a proposal for Devi, as well as in her parents’ own marriage. The novel unfolds simultaneously from a mother’s and her daughter’s perspectives, using the Indian classical literary tradition of nested, interconnected stories.

Freedom, as the novel states on the opening page, is the hardest thing for anyone to learn to maneuver. The idea for such a book came to Rashmi two decades ago, as a guest speaker in two panel discussions with students of South Asian origin at UC Berkeley, and at Stanford. Many bright young students do not understand what their parents want from their children, or even why they are not as free of their families like many of their peers; at the same time, many parents do not understand why their beloved children want this thing called freedom, and their own space. The resulting layers of tension between them - the first generation born in the US as they come of age, and their ‘naturalized’, middle-aged, often economically successful parents, who still feel like failures as parents in the US - are explored, from both sides.

      “We usually read about the problems of immigrants' children (born in the USA or in the USA from an early age) but not much about the immigrant parents - and if we do read about them - not with much compassion. The two Thanksgiving episodes are really moving. The interweaving of the number of stories is wonderful.”

                              Roshni Rustomji-Kerns,

Professor Emerita, Sonoma State University,

editor of Blood Into Ink, editor of Living in America, editor of Encounters, The Braided Tongue, and more.

      Written with the Language Arts Framework in mind, this book augments Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake as recommended in the K-12 Common Core Content Standards, and is also suitable for undergraduates. The author’s previous title from 1992, a retelling of the Punchtuntra Fable for all ages, The Blue Jackal, is included in Prentice Hall’s Anthology of Literature for Middle Grades.

This Freedom is 300 easy to read pages, total, and is available as a Print on Demand book (soft cover, ISBN 978-1-878099-70-9) from Amazon, and your local bookseller. The e-version (ISBN  978-1-878099-71-6) is available as an i-book from Apple, and as an e-book from Vidyabooks.com.

 

Hear the song "Reshma" at youtube. This song best describes the novel.

  • Item #: 111137

This Freedom

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