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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • A Woman Reading
    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...
  • Kathy
    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.The Milk Lady of Bangalore is a charming and eccentric blend of memoir and non-fiction told through a bovine lens. While providing a unique and quick peek into India's cultures, religions, history, caste system and languages, it is also a simple tale of a friendship that crosses many of these apparent barriers. Narayan never preaches and manages to avoid dry informational passa...
  • enyanyo
    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed Shoba Narayan’s memoir. First of all it was the milk: sweet, fresh and healing milk. Milk is friendship and family; connection and compromise; nourishment and nostalgia; reconnection and remedy. The milk was as sweet as Shoba and Sarala’s budding friendship. The it dawns on the reader: “The milk is so good because ...
  • Hannah McKelson
    Charming and a refreshing change of perspective - I've read very few books that focus on the culture of India, especially when the focus is on the juxtaposition of and parallels between the well-off and impoverished. However, I found the narrator to be a bit repetitive, the plot (obtaining a cow and the related experiences/relationships) to be drawn out unnecessarily, and perhaps lacking in depth (read: it didn't feel like enough to fill a whole ...
  • Joann
    What you have here is a delightful story mixed in with everything you might want to know, or not, about the cows of India. How important and integral they are to Indian culture. This is written by an Indian woman who came of age in the United States and returns to Bangalore with her husband and two daughters so they can experience the Indian culture and be near relatives. The author befriends the local milk lady from whom she buys fresh milk ever...
  • Deepa
    I started reading "The Cows of Bangalore - And how I came to own one" by Shoba Narayan yesterday. Ignored all the pending work around the house till I finished reading it this morning. I stayed glued to the book. Needless to say, I LOVE the book. It is so layered, with that thread of self deprecating humour running through it. Delightful and instructive...have never thought much about the cow, but will look at it with new eyes now. Thank you, Sho...
  • Kathleen Gray
    This was an unexpected and delightful surprise. Narayan has written a light and informative book about modern India and, well, cows. She's got a terrific voice that never condescends. It's less a memoir than a story of a unique friendship with Sarala, the milk lady and of Narayan coming to terms with her return to India. India's a big subject (it's a big country). Narayan wisely chose a small subject and details it wonderfully. Thanks to Netgalle...
  • Beverly
    COWS !!! Who knew???What a delightful and "unexpected adventure". The author's return home after years in NYC offer a perfect opportunity to educate both her daughters, AND us on some of the more interesting customs and beliefs of the Hindu religion specifically and India in general. Cows are an integral part of everyday life and we learn why through Narayan's friendship with the milk lady, Sarala. Their daily interactions give an insight into th...
  • Janine Brouillette
    I really like this book and the writing style of Shoba Narayan. Her writing style is easy to read and humorous. I was also fascinated with the information and culture she sprinkled throughout the book about Indian and Hinduism culture and history. She and her husband was born in India but went to college and lived in the States before returning to India, which makes her relatable to both cultures. I look forward to reading more books from this au...
  • Lynne
    If you’ve been to my blog before, you’d probably know that I’m a immense fan of nonfiction that have a travel aspect to them. Shoba Narayan’s latest book, The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure is an interesting twist on the usual “travel” story as it’s partly about her experience living with her family as expats (of sorts) in India...Read the rest of this review here:
  • Nancee
    An "udderly" delightful story about cows, friendship, family & culture. Narayan's writing is a marvelous mix of Mary Roach and Sy Montgomery, two of the finest nonfiction writers on the planet. Narayan explores the biology, mythology and evolution of bovines, especially their place of prominence and reverence in Indian culture and life, weaving a beautiful tale of family along the way.
  • Deb M.
    Not exactly the book I expected but once I started reading I was enthralled! I learned so very much about life in India, milk, Hinduism and so much more. Shoba is a personable writer. She captures the character of the people and situations she writes about. I felt more like I was reading a fiction story than a memoir.
  • Liane
    Fairly quick, easy read of insider (well, born in India, moved as adolescent, naturalized American citizen, moved back to India with adolescent children so they could know their grands and cousins) perspective. I enjoyed her descriptions of the milk merchant and her family and their varying motivations. I really enjoyed her description of her husband and (American) children’s reactions to her trying offbeat local foods and remedies. And lots of...