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Tanuja Desai Hidier Books In Order

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Publication Order of Born Confused Books

Publication Order of Anthologies

Tanuja Desai Hidier is a bestselling and award-winning author that is also the innovator and singer-songwriter of the booktrack. The author was the winner of the APALA Young Adult and Children Honor Award, the Waterstones/London Writers Award, the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, and the South Asia Book Award in 2015. Her short fiction has been featured in several anthologies over the years. Hidier made her debut with the 2002 published novel “Born Confuse”d which was a landmark novel that was named Best Book for Young Adults as the first South Asian American Young Adult novel. The work was critically acclaimed by the likes of “Paste Magazine,” “Entertainment Weekly,” and “Rolling Stone Magazine.” It was included on lists of the best young adult novels of all time that included titles such as “Huckleberry Finn,” “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Harry Potter,” “Little Women,” and “The Catcher in the Rye.” “Bombay Blues” her second novel won the South Asia Book Award. Kirkus Review called it an immersive blend of lyricism, external drama, and introspection. Hidier’s novels have been translated into several languages over the years.

Tanuja was brought up in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and as a teen went to Brown University and went to live in New York. While in New York, she worked several jobs that included hostessing at a Tex Mex restaurant, walking a Saluki dog, party promoting at night clubs, magazine editor and writer, copyeditor, and intern at “The Paris Review” the literary magazine. She also worked for the Whitney Museum Film & Video Department as a secretary was the co-host of an online music streaming program. The best thing she did at the time was directing and writing “The Test,” a short award-winning film. She was also the frontwoman for “io” a punk-pop band that got gigs playing the downtown circuit. In other words, she did everything she could not to write a fiction work thus putting off her writing career indefinitely. Tanuja started writing her debut novel while living in Paris but it was only when she moved to a Portobello Road flat in London that she started taking writing seriously. “Born Confused” her debut novel was finally finished after hours spent writing from the window of her flat overlooking the vegetable and fruit seller of Portobello market. She also spent an inordinate amount of time writing at coffee shops in the area.

Tanuja Desai Hidier is huge in the theme of first and second-generation Indians and how they find their place in the United States. “The Border” which was a partition era novel was the winner of the 2001 Waterstones/London Writers Competition for fiction. “Tiger Tiger” which was a novel that celebrated the last decade of American Asian writing was featured in the Big City Literature anthology in New York. She won the James Jones First Novel Fellowship Award in 1995 for a collection of short stories. “The Test” that was a short film she wrote and “The Assimilation Alphabet” that she directed and co-wrote had some of the themes of cultural assimilation in them. The movie would be included in the screenings at the 19th Asian American International Film Festival at the Tribeca Film Center. Vanderbilt University’s Video Festival of 1996 gave the movie an award of merit. The movie was also part of the New York University course South American Youth Comes of Age in 1997. Tanuja currently lives in London and still works as a lead lyricist/vocalist for a rock band.

Tanuja Hidier’s novel “Born Confused” introduces Dimple Lala a woman of Indian extraction that was born and raised in New Jersey. At the beginning of the novel, she is on the cusp of turning seventeen just at the time when she is rejecting the old world culture and ways of her parent as she wants to become fully American. However, the people around her still see her as an Indian American girl even though she was born in the US. She has strict parents who see getting drunk even on occasional events such as birthdays as a big thing. If she does get drunk, she can expect severe punishment and silent treatment that could last for days. However, Dimple is a well-behaved teenager as compared to Gwyn her childhood friend. She is still a virgin, gets good grades at school, and has never done drugs unlike most of her peers. It seems that it is her parents who cannot realize what a lovely and caring family they have. Dimple who has been brought up under the Asian cultural norm is a very good daughter and they should be grateful. On the other hand is Gwyn, her blonde, slim, and beautiful friend that is often the center of attention anywhere she goes. However, she is from a broken home and had been ignored by her mother and abandoned by her father. She craves the family unit that Dimple has especially the stability though Dimple sometimes takes it for granted and wishes to be free of parental restriction and to be just as beautiful.

“Bombay Blues” by Tanuja Desai Hidier is set two years after the events of the first novel. Dimple is now a nineteen-year-old student at New York University. She is planning to head to India with her parents as they are going to attend the wedding anniversary of Lala one of her cousins. They will also be attending the wedding of Sangita who is Dimple’s sister-cousin. Karsh plans to land in Bombay to DJ Sangita’s wedding. Karsh and Dimple have been growing apart lately but she is hoping they can make things right between them once again. But before he can be big in Bombay, Karsh needs to come to terms with the tragic death of his father which had left him deeply scarred. Dimple is not part of the work he needs to do but he also has to do some Hare Krishna after his first DJ gig goes wrong. Reacting to Karsh becoming distant, she gets into a fling with Cowboy a fellow photographer. She had run into him in Bombay after they had locked eyes at the airport and she decides that maybe fate is telling her something.

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