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Book Review - A New Dawn

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 Born and raised in India, Sudha Balagopal weaves her multicultural experiences into her debut novel, A New Dawn.  The story centers around Usha Param, a recently widowed, middle-aged, Indian immigrant who lived in Phoenix her entire married life.  “Usha typifies many Indian women, particularly those of her age group,” says Balagopal about her character.  “She is educated, loyal, capable, somewhat conservative yet adaptable.  Her family is her anchor.”  After Usha’s husband dies, leaving her alone, she bundles the pieces of her life and decides to remedy her aloneness.  At forty-eight, she dates for the very first time in her life.

“While Usha is Indian American with a specific cultural background, she is also every woman,” Balagopal says.  Her sense of isolation and her trials and tribulations navigating the world of dating are universal.  Balagopal explains that, “our world of increasing technology allows us to connect instantly and easily with one another.  Yet, conversely, people find themselves more alone than ever, unable to make real connections.  From that premise, a story grew—of hope and of relationships.”

Although A New Dawn is Balagopal’s first novel, she has always written.  Many of her short stories have appeared in literary journals in the US and elsewhere.  She also has two short story collections available.  “My first submission went out at age eleven.  I still remember a few lines of the simple poem I submitted.  However, I didn’t pursue creative writing after that tiny attempt.  I went on to use words in different ways.  They filled my life in other avatars for many years.  I entered the realm of creative writing much later in life, only to understand that I had so much to learn.  Still, something from within impelled me towards fiction; perhaps the time was right, or perhaps I was ready.”

About writing A New Dawn, Balagopal says, “Usha allowed me to explore her strengths through her uncertainties and her apprehensions.  She showed me how she evolved from a shy newly-wed to an able administrator.  More than that, she let me into her mind as she bungled through to discover and sort out what she really wanted from life and love.”

About Sudha Balagopal:
Sudha Balagopal’s fiction straddles continents, melding cultures and blending thoughts, representing ideas and desires from the east and the west.  Her work delves into the everyday lives of ordinary people to reveal larger, universal truths.  She is the author of two short story collections, There are Seven Notes and Missing and Other Stories.  When she’s not writing, Sudha teaches yoga.  Connect with Sudha at SudhaBalagopal.com and on Facebook.

About Laurel Highlands Publishing:
Laurel Highlands Publishing is a Greater Pittsburgh based small press dedicated to great writing.  They publish novels and short story collections in a variety of genres worldwide.  Discover more at LaurelHighlandsPublishing.com

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