Archive for July, 2021

Gold Diggers

Monday, July 19th, 2021

By Sanjena Sathian

The Short Take:

A unique twist on the coming-of age story, with young people ingesting the powers of gold to further their own ambitions–but to the detriment of their associates. Highly enjoyable as well as being surprisingly informative.


The children of moderately successful Indian immigrants in this book are under immense pressure to succeed as Americans but also to embrace the Indian culture of their parents. To achieve this dichotomy they go to special programs, participate in many extra curricular activities, and more. Some even consume gold–stolen gold that is specially prepared and dissolved.

This practice impacts both those who take the gold and those who’s golden trinkets are stolen. Are these effects real? The book treats them seriously, or at least seems to. Several cover blurbs referred to this novel as funny which I didn’t get at all so maybe the joke’s on me. Regardless, it is a fascinating read that not only delves into the semi-contemporary lives of second generation American-Indians (it begins in the Bush era) but also explores the possible existence of an actual Indian gold digger in the ’49 California gold rush.

I doubt there’s another book with anything close to this unusual take on ambition, family, relationships, and loyalty.

A Little Plot:

While smart enough, Neil doesn’t have the drive or ambition of his ethnic Indian contemporaries. This disappoints his parents as well as himself. When his closest friend, neighbor Anita, becomes secretive and starts achieving new successes he wonders about the change and begins to investigate. Then he helps himself to the same solution.

For more about Sanjena Sathian click here.


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July 2021