The Milk Lady of Bangalore by Shoba Narayan

The Milk Lady of Bangalore

The elevator door opens. A cow stands inside, angled diagonally to fit. It doesn’t look uncomfortable, merely impatient. “It is for the housewarming ceremony on the third floor,” explains the woman who stands behind the cow, holding it loosely with a rope. She has the sheepish look of a person caught in a strange situation who is trying to act as normal as possible. She introduces herself as Sarala and smiles reassuringly. The door closes. ...

Details The Milk Lady of Bangalore

TitleThe Milk Lady of Bangalore
Release DateJan 23rd, 2018
PublisherAlgonquin Books
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Cultural, India, Travel, Animals, Biography Memoir

Reviews The Milk Lady of Bangalore

  • Diane S ☔
    Moving back to India, after twenty years in the states, the first thing Shoba encounters is a woman with a cow, in the elevator of the apartment building in which she and her family are moving. This is her first introduction to Sarala who will soon be her introduction to all things cow. Who would ever think a book about cows, their urine and dung, their milk and the benefits from drinking it straight from said cow, to be so fascinating? Yet,I was...
  • Kate Olson
    Some books enter into my life for the simple purpose of making me a more informed world citizen, and I am all for that. However, THE MILK LADY OF BANGALORE 100% did that, but also did the almost impossible and utterly charmed and entertained me at the same time. Narayan has taken a topic that seems to be incredibly simple (the life of the milk lady across the street from her apartment building), and has woven it into not just a rich look at life ...
  • Virginia Myers
    This book was not what I expected. I saw in Book Browse that it was categorized as a "biography/memoir" and I somehow expected something different than what this book turned out to be. I thought it would be more of the typical type of memoir about some part of the author's life with a little informative data about Indian cows. It turned out to mostly about milk and cows interwoven into a little bit of the typical memoir type stuff. I did enjoy re...
  • Lee
    The price of milk, the price of cows, and the price of friendship, all are suberbly explored in this book. Some basis in fact, I believe, and Ms. Nayaran’s mischievious sense of humor enlivens the narrative. Her research regarding the customs and traditions about cows, languages, and other ‘only in India’ information was a great plus. I thought the first half of the book could have been tightened a bit so a 4.5 rather than a solid 5. Hearti...
  • Rana
    Dude. Who knew cows could be so fucking fascinating? I spent almost as much time googling images of native Indian cows as I did reading. A near perfect blend of memoir and cultural and historical facts.
  • Karen
    **Note: I received a free ebook copy of The Milk Lady of Bangalore in from NetGalley in exchange for a review.****Spoilers ahead.**Through the theme of milk, author Shoba Narayan unexpectedly brings together aspects of modern India that I've never encountered in other works. And I say this as someone who briefly lived in India and who reads a great amount of Indian literature. This story spans a number of years after Narayan and her husband, both...
  • Jess Johnson
    Not my cup of tea cow urine. There were parts of this book I found delightful -- particularly the insight into Indian culture both past and present. That said, I found the narrator problematic. It felt like she couldn't decide if she or the milk lady were the protagonist and she ended up keeping both subjects at arm's length. We only really get close to her with (view spoiler)[the death of her dog (hide spoiler)] which felt really out of place fr...
  • Beth Ann
    This was a delightful read! The cow in the elevator reminded me of baby camels in the back of a pickup I saw in Saudi Arabia. Ms Narayan has one foot in the States and one in India. That coupled with her language skills allow a glimpse into Indian life that one would never get just from visiting. She also generously sprinkles historical and cultural nuggets into the story to make it even more interesting.This book is about cows but really so much...
  • Renée (bookishblissandbeauty)
    *An advanced reader ebook copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*I loved reading Narayan's unique perspective on Indian culture. Though raised in India, Narayan spent 20 years in the U.S. before moving back with her husband and two children. Thus she can see Indian culture as both an insider and an outsider. I think this provides a great access point for readers like myself who are not Indian or Indian A...
  • Nicole Means
    Wow! “The Milk Lady if Bangalore” transported me back to 2010 when I had the pleasure of spending over a week in Bangalore. I only wish this book had been written then because the author provides so much insight into the ubiquitous cow found on the streets of Bangalore. Upon first spotting the cow, the tourist can be found staring with his/her mouth agape, but after several days, the cow is such a “normal” part of Bangalore, that the tour...
  • Booknblues
    What a true delight it was for me to read The Cows of Bangalore: Adventures with My Milk Lady by Shoba Narayan. It is the story of an American immigrant who returns to her home country of India in middle age with her husband and two daughters. It was an interesting and eye opening view of India, especially its relationship to cattle. Shoba is a well-to-do Indian who makes friends with a local milk lady, who she first meets when moving into her ap...
  • Mary
    Interesting perspective and look at life in India via a journalist raised in India, who spent 20 years in America and then returned.
  • Hayley DeRoche
    This book suffers from a few things.1. I *suspect* that Narayan got a book deal for this idea, and then had to follow through, because the relationship she has with Sarala seems so forced at times! It's not a friendship, it's a business relationship, but it always seems like Narayan wants it to be more than that. But then she pulls away, or Sarala pulls away. It's an awkward dance and it never quite falls into place, even at the end when the auth...
  • Jayeeta
    For this one, I was split between a 2 star and 4 star. This book was weird in several different ways. Firstly, who writes a book on cows? And then who reads it? :PIt felt like the author was fairly obsessed with her new found love/respect/info-overload on cows and she wanted to share it with the world. Her audience was clearly lives in the US but ironically those are the bunch of folks who will not relate to her story-telling. I'm not sure if I l...
  • Sandy
    I’m lactose intolerant yet here I am reading a book about cows and milk. Hum? I thought this novel sounded interesting and that is why I asked to read it and interesting is what I got. I found out a great deal about cows but I also got an interesting story about a woman who packed up her family and took them back to India. Both Narayan and her husband were from India and they had family there. Looking out the window of her apartment one morning...
  • Amy Layton
    I didn’t expect to love this book so much or learn that much about milk from it. Not to mention, of course, the way India as a whole tends to treat cows, and why, and what they like to do not only with the milk, but urine and feces as well. Talk about versatile functionality!Written with Narayan’s journalistic expertise, this book truly makes India come to life. Its social groupings, expectations, and lifestyle all converge to create a colorf...
  • Stephanie
    When the author moved back to India after years of living in the US, she had some cultural adjustments to make (even though she had lived there as a child and still had a lot of family there). One person who helped her was the woman who parked herself and her cows on the sidewalk outside the author's apartment building every morning to sell fresh milk. Quick, easy read and I learned stuff about cows. :) And a little about India.
  • devrah lawver
    Very well written, and I certainly learned a lot about cows...
  • Madhusree
    I loved this book. I learned a whole lot about the holy cow. It is even funnier because I read it in Wisconsin- America's Dairyland. The return home of an Indian woman from America & her complete absorption in to India- its obsession with cows& her breathless research into breeds, religion as it relates to the cow was a pleasant, quick, informative read.
  • Lois
    This non-fiction gives lot of information on life in India. It helped me understand why the cow is sacred to Hindus and how this impacts life. I read this for Book-browse and was given a pre-publication copy. Had I not agreed to read this book, I am not sure I would have continued. I would have enjoyed more narrative than this book allows, but did learn a lot from reading it.
  • Joan
    If you all were expecting a review of this book, sorry but it took me awhile to really process it. I knew cows were sacred in India, but I had no idea it was so profound. The author develops a relationship with a milk lady in India, and I guess since they're not many milk ladies, it's special. This book went through all ways cows effect people and people effect cows I guess. If a cow defacates in a new house, it's considered blessed, drinking the...
  • Lewestover
    Somewhat entertaining, very informative about Indian culture and cows, but not a book that I would recommend or read again.
  • Kristen
    When our author, Shoba Narayan, moves home to Bangalore after spending 20 years in the United States, she moves into a nice apartment building with her family and then her life intersects with Sarala (who she meets in an elevator with a cow), the urban dairy farmer who comes to sell fresh milk in her neighborhood. The friendship that unfolds is delightful, absorbing, complicated, hysterical, and loving. It was a gift to be invited into the circle...
  • Robert Yokoyama
    Shoba Narayan describes a part of India that I would love to visit. She is New York educated journalist but was born and raised in India. She moved with her family to Bangalore so she could reconnect to her Indian culture. Bangalore is a place where people of different religious beliefs can peacefully coexist. I never thought a person from a Christian faith and a person from the Hindu faith would ever get married without receiving scorn. I would ...
  • Abhinav
    A summary of the plot• After the author returns to India from New York City, she manages to slowly adjust to her new life in Bengaluru. This is when she has her first awkward encounter with a cow in the elevator. She eventually is inspired to buying freshly milked (what else?) cow-milk from across the street. One thing leads to another and she buys a cow to finally donate her. The author’s musings and investigative research reveal a lot about...
  • AWomanReading
    The author, a naturalized American returns to Bangalore, India and explores the eccentricities of her culture with humor and complete self-awareness. I originally selected this book because I thought it was a work of fiction, and the idea of the story sounded quirky enough to capture and maintain my interest. But after further reading, I was pleasantly surprised to find the story a true account of the author's return home.As one who is endlessly ...
  • Camilla
    In The Milk Lady of Bangalore, Narayan immerses us in the culture, customs, myths, religion, sights, sounds, smells, and flavors of her homeland. Narayan was born in India, immigrated to the United States as a child, and returns to Bangalore with her husband and two daughters so they can be closer to grandparents and experience their heritage first-hand. This is a charming read about the clashes and resolution of ancient and modern traditions. Fo...
  • Jill Meyer
    Okay. So, I enjoy reading books about India, Indians, Indian-Americans, Indian food, history, and the society. I'll never get to India because I couldn't deal with the climate, so reading about the country, its people, and eating the food at restaurants here have to suffice. Shoba Narayan's, "The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure", which is a combination memoir and a look at a slice of life in today's India.Shoba Narayan was born in...
  • Nerfzilla
    I am only half way through this book but decided to write a review now simply because of how much I love it. This is the book I wish I had written. I lived in India for a number of years, mainly in Bengalaru, where I worked, and every page has the joy and surprise of wonderful recognition. But it also has something I. Pull never have written, the understanding of a culture from BOTH sides. MS. Narayan was born in India but lived for many years ne...
  • Sandra Helen
    Narayan's nonfiction book about the influence of cows and milk on Indian culture is engaging, informative, and provocative. I grew up in rural Missouri, milked a cow at the age of five, and began shaking jars of cream into butter at the same age. Grandma always had a cow and preferred Guernsey above all else, with Jersey next. I've searched for years for butter that reminds me of the taste of real homemade butter from those cows, without luck. Fr...