#BookReview A Great Country by Shilpi Somaya Gowda @PenguinRandomCA #ShilpiSomayaGowda #AGreatCountry #PenguinReads Title: A Great Country

Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Published by: Doubleday Canada on Mar. 26, 2024

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

From the New York Times bestselling author, a novel in the tradition of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, exploring the ties and fractures of a close-knit Indian-American family in the aftermath of a violent encounter with the police.

Pacific Hills, California: Gated communities, ocean views, well-tended lawns, serene pools, and now the new home of the Shah family. For the Shah parents, who came to America twenty years earlier with little more than an education and their new marriage, this move represents the culmination of years of hard work and dreaming. For their children, born and raised in America, success is not so simple.

For the most part, these differences among the five members of the Shah family are minor irritants, arguments between parents and children, older and younger siblings. But one Saturday night, the twelve-year-old son is arrested. The fallout from that event will shake each family member’s perception of themselves as individuals, as community members, as Americans, and will lead each to consider: how do we define success? At what cost comes ambition? And what is our role and responsibility in the cultural mosaic of modern America?

For readers of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, A Great Country explores themes of immigration, generational conflict, social class and privilege as it reconsiders the myth of the model minority and questions the price of the American dream.


Astute, fast-paced, and thought-provoking!

A Great Country is a nuanced, absorbing tale set in Pacific Hills, California that takes you into the lives of the Indian American Shah family as their lives get turned upside down when the youngest member of the family, twelve-year-old Ajay, is brutally arrested and they must each individually confront their conflicting feelings and experiences with systemic racism, prejudice, privilege, controversy, reputation, and ableism.

The prose is well-turned and fluid. The characters are flawed, troubled, and confused. And the plot is a moving tale of life, loss, shame, reputation, ostracism, class division, suffering, friendship, affluence, culture, and familial drama.

Overall, A Great Country is a hopeful, compelling, multi-generational saga by Gowda that is a good reminder that family can be frustrating, messy, secretive, and sometimes hard to love, but they can also be surprising, supportive, loyal, and the only true place that feels like home.


This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.




Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Shilpi Somaya Gowda

SHILPI SOMAYA GOWDA was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Her previous novels, Secret Daughter, The Golden Son and The Shape of Family became international bestsellers, selling over two million copies worldwide, in over 30 languages. She holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar. She lives in California with her husband and children.

Photo by Alissa Rose Photography

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