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A Great Country

A novel by

Named an ELLE BEST BOOK OF 2024

Named a BEST or MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR by Readers’ Digest, Elle Magazine, CondeNast Traveler, Publishers’ Weekly, Indigo, ZibbyMag, Goodreads, BookBub & more

 “A deeply moving, layered portrait of the hopes, dreams and fears a family carries as ‘other’ in the face of the modern American Dream." -- Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push and The Whispers

Pacific Hills, California: Gated communities, ocean views, well-tended lawns, serene pools, and now the new home of the Shah family. For the Shah parents, who came to America twenty years earlier with little more than an education and their new marriage, this move represents the culmination of years of hard work and dreaming. For their children, born and raised in America, success is not so simple.

For the most part, these differences among the five members of the Shah family are minor irritants, arguments between parents and children, older and younger siblings. But one Saturday night, the twelve-year-old son is arrested. The fallout from that event will shake each family member’s perception of themselves as individuals, as community members, as Americans, and will lead each to consider: how do we define success? At what cost comes ambition? And what is our role and responsibility in the cultural mosaic of modern America?

For readers of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, A Great Country explores themes of immigration, generational conflict, social class and privilege as it reconsiders the myth of the model minority and questions the price of the American dream.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"A deeply moving, layered portrait of the hopes, dreams and fears a family carries as 'other' in the face of the modern American Dream, where social currency and privilege threaten even the most basic of instincts: to protect one's child at all costs. Shilpi Somaya Gowda has the incredible gift of telling poignant, empathetic stories that make us think differently about the world we live in, and A Great Country is no exception." - Ashley Audrain

"In A Great Country, Shilpi Somaya Gowda has crafted a moving story of an immigrant family's challenges in the wake of their son's troubling arrest. Each character and situation is drawn with heart and nuance, resulting in a masterful portrayal of the pressures on and prejudices of well-meaning people. Right and wrong, good and bad: if only life were so simple. This is a thought-provoking, truly worthwhile book." - Therese Anne Fowler

"Shilpi Somaya Gowda deftly explores racial biases and class divides in this riveting, layered, and empathetic tale. Readers will feel deeply for the Shah family even as mistakes and miscalculations escalate, and convictions are challenged by real life. A GREAT COUNTRY is a timely, honest, and powerful story, and one that is sure to spark much discussion." - Michelle Gable

"A bold and unapologetic read about the precariousness of one Indian-American family's attempts to assimilate and how quickly and carelessly a model minority becomes just a minority. Gowda crafts a page turner seeped in observations about justice and injustice in this great country." - Vibhuti Jain

"Poignant and propulsive, Shilpi Somaya Gowda's A Great Country grips you from the very first page and refuses to let you go. Filled with empathy and nuance, this thrilling exploration of immigration, the American Dream and the model minority myth will touch your heart and mind. A gorgeous read!" - Jean Kwok

"Shilpi has done it again with A Great Country-- a tender, multi-layered meditation on family and community and how we find our way to belonging in both. The novel is also a poignant reminder that politics (and social justice) is always personal. I know other readers will fall as hard for the Shah family as I did and be enriched by the deep levels of empathy this engrossing story evokes." - Christine Pride

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