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Amulya Malladi Books In Order

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Publication Order of Gabriel Præst Books

A Death in Denmark (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Backlash Blues (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Breath of Fresh Air (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mango Season (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Serving Crazy with Curry (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Song of the Cuckoo Bird (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sound of Language (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
A House for Happy Mothers (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Copenhagen Affair (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Amulya Mallad is a Denmark based Indian mystery, crime fiction author, famously known for her debut novel, The House of Happy Mothers. She was born and spent her childhood in India and attended Osmania University in Hyderabad, where she graduated with an engineering degree. Amulya has spent several years in the United States, during which she managed to pursue a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis in Tennessee. Her books have been translated into various languages, including German, French, Danish, Spanish, Serbian, Tamil, Romanian, and Dutch. Amulya won a screenwriting award for a Danish television series, (Island), that aired on Studio Canal+ and Amazon Prime Global.

Published in 2016, The House of Happy Mothers is the story of an Indian-American Silicon Valley based woman. Choosing to have a baby is, in most cases, not an easy task, especially for women facing fertility problems of one sort or the other. Whether they’ve had a miscarriage or have trouble getting pregnant, becoming a mother can be quite distressing for many. For the women who look for alternative methods to adulthood, fertility treatments, adoption, or surrogacy, such alternatives often come with an emotional cost. Amulya Mallad’s The House for Happy Mothers critically examines the cost of surrogacy financially, socially, and emotionally for both the surrogate and the biological mother.

Meet Priya, an Indian American living in Silicon Valley. All she wants in life right now is a baby. Unfortunately, she and her husband, Madhu, have had countless miscarriages. So Priya decides the best option for her is to get a surrogate mother to carry their baby full term. She has researched surrogacy, joined online forums, and chosen a clinic, a doctor, and the surrogate mother. But her mother is against the surrogacy idea, but her husband is highly supportive of her even when he’s not entirely convinced or desperate for a baby.
Asha is the chosen surrogate mother. She is the wife of Pratap, and the two have two young children. Pratap works as a painter and lives in a tiny house in a smaller impoverished village. Asha wants a better life for her kids than Pratap can provide. The opportunity she gets to become a surrogate will enable her to send her oldest son to a good school. Her sister-in-law has been through surrogacy and encourages Asha to do it. Asha’s husband is highly supportive, especially after seeing the apartment the sister-in-law brought from the money she was paid for the surrogacy. Soon, Asha is carrying Priya’s baby.

The House for Happy Mothers shifts back and forth between Asha and Priya’s lives. The author allows the reader to have a glimpse of their own concerns and anxiety over the surrogacy situation. Priya is happy that she will finally get to be a mother, but she is also worried about her own mother’s concerns. She is also worried that something bad may happen to the pregnancy as it progresses almost halfway across the world from her. On the other hand, Asha wonders how she can remain undetached from the child that grows inside of her after the nine months are over and wonders whether the monetary compensation she will get is enough to give away something she emotionally bonded with.

The surrogacy itself gives both Priya and Asha hope for something they would have never had. For Asha, it means that she will get enough money to educate her son; for Priya, it means she will finally have a baby of her own. Throughout the pregnancy, the two women experience the strain of their decisions on their marriages and their emotional well-being. Interspersed in the story are the post from the internet forum that helps Priya cope with the whole situation. On the other hand, Asha’s support comes from the other women who’ve experienced surrogacy life.

Amulya Mallad does a fantastic job presenting the two sides of the complex ethical dilemma bestowed by the idea of getting a surrogate from a third-world country. The financial cost of surrogacy is more than the money involved; the two characters clearly demonstrate that. It’s not just about the money, but also social, moral, and emotional aspects as well. The issue of surrogacy also encompasses family politics, class, privilege, gender roles, and the mother’s love. The story handles the clinical transaction to a strange but ultimately heartwarming intimacy well. Both Asha and Priya are imperfect and also human in their portrayal and feelings about the complicated issue of surrogacy.

In Breath of Fresh Air, we meet Anjali, happily married to Sandeep. The two have a son named Amer, who’s on a deathbed due to an illness. Anjali’s life could have turned out so differently. Married immediately after completing school to a military man, Prakesh, she could have enjoyed a life of parties, expensive jewelry, and expensive saris. Still, instead, she chose to divorce Prakesh for reasons that the author reveals later in the book- after being involved in the Bhopal disaster, which left her with breathing problems.
Living life as a divorced woman is never that easy. Anjali’s colleagues at the school where she works don’t know about her tragic past, and even her widowed sister-in-law doesn’t know she was married before. When Prakesh pays a visit to Ooty, the city where Anjali lives, her past threatens to collide with her present with potential emotional damage. There is so much in Breath of Fresh Air, especially with characters trying to correct their past mistakes. However, Anjali can’t help but despise Prakesh for what he did to her years ago, and his apologies are of no help to her or her family.

Amulya Mallad has done a fantastic job of crafting a book that is rich in psychology and Indian culture that resonates with the true meaning and the power of love. In a fascinating, unfamiliar world, Anjali struggles to reconcile the responsibilities of mother and working woman, wife, and ex-wife, illuminating the intriguing duality of the 21st-century Indian woman and the tough choices all women must make.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Amulya Malladi

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