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Penguin: Adult Hardcover & Trade Paperback Summer 2019

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Polite Society
By (author): Mahesh Rao
9780525539940 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Literary Aug 20, 2019
$35.00 CAD
Active 6.37 x 9.29 x 1.2 in 368 pages Putnam G.P. Putnam's Sons
“So funny, smart, sophisticated, and captivating, you just want to spend your whole life with it.”—Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians

In this modern reimagining of Jane Austen’s Emma, Delhi’s polite society is often anything but polite.


Beautiful, clever, and more than a little bored, Ania Khurana has Delhi wrapped around her finger. Having successfully found love for her spinster aunt, she sets her sights on Dimple: her newest, sweetest, and most helpless friend.

But when her aunt’s handsome nephew arrives from America, the social tides in Delhi begin to shift. Surrounded by old money and new; relentless currents of gossip; and an unforgettable cast of socialites, journalists, gurus, and heirs, Ania discovers that her good intentions are no match for the whims and intrigues of Delhi’s high society—or for her own complicated feelings toward her cherished childhood friend, Dev.

Pairing razor-sharp observation and social comedy with moments of true tenderness, this delicious whirl through the mansions of India’s dazzling elite celebrates that there’s no one route to perfect happiness.

Story Locale: Delhi, India and England

TIMELY AND FRESH TAKE ON A CLASSIC: Retellings of Jane Austen’s novels have always been popular—from Eligible to Bridget Jones’s Diary to Clueless—and Polite Society hits all the right notes. It’s also the perfect next step: The American debut of British-Indian writer Mahesh Rao, the novel’s diverse take is fresh in the category, perfect for our multicultural climate and the “own voices” movement.

A DELIGHT FOR AUSTEN FANS: Lovers of the original Emma and Jane Austen’s wit and women will enjoy Rao’s gorgeously incisive prose and Ania’s entertaining journey. The novel closely mirrors Emma, but with a few key twists, which fans will love to identify and explore.

FUN AND SMART BEACH READ: Readers (and now viewers) have loved the wealth, glamor, and drama of Crazy Rich Asians, and this novel packs a similar punch, with a big heart, nonstop wit, and a zany cast of lovably odd characters.

RICH SETTING: Rao has spent the last nine years living in India and knows the world he writes. The tantalizingly rich culture of Delhi comes to life on every page, while the universal nature of each character’s desires and social foibles are familiar and fun for American readers.

Mahesh Rao is the author of the award-winning novel The Smoke Is Rising and a book of short stories One Point Two Billion, both published in the UK to wonderful reviews. He was born and brought up in Nairobi, has worked in the UK as a lawyer, researcher and bookseller, and currently lives most of the year in India. Polite Society is his American debut.

Author Residence: Mumbai, India

Author Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

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Author Website: maheshrao.info

Author Social Media: Twitter: @mraozing; Facebook.com/MaheshRaoAuthor;

“Witty, smart, compelling—Polite Society is a thoroughly pleasurable read.”—Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire

“A bitingly funny version of Austen’s Emma…could have been titled Crazy Rich Indians.”—South China Morning Post

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