“An extraordinary book that transcends gender and race and culture and sexual identity to speak to our universal humanity and the quest we all share for a self.” — Robert Olen Butler
Reminiscent of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies and the work of Michael Cunningham, Rahul Mehta’s debut short story collection is an emotionally arresting exploration of the lives of Indian-American gay men and their families.
With buoyant humor and incisive, cunning prose, Mehta sets off into uncharted literary territory. The characters in Quarantine are Westernized in some ways, with cosmopolitan views on friendship and sex, while struggling to maintain relationships with their families and cultural traditions. Grappling with the issues that concern all gay men—social acceptance, the right to pursue happiness, and the heavy toll of listening to their hearts and bodies—they confront an elder generation's attachment to old-country ways. Estranged from their cultural in-group and still set apart from larger society, the young men in these lyrical, provocative, emotionally wrenching, yet frequently funny stories find themselves quarantined.
Praise For Quarantine: Stories…
“Because Rahul Mehta’s characters are so richly and deeply rendered, because action and situation are so closely observed, these stories transcend all the categories that they are also determined to cut across. Quarantine is the best first collection I have read in over twenty years.”
— Madison Smartt Bell
“Quarantine is an insightful and compellingly readable collection of stories in which Rahul Mehta masterfully explores the emotions, the conflicts, the complex accommodations of being gay and Indian American.”
— Manil Suri, bestselling author of The Death of Vishnu and The Age of Shiva
“Mehta’s voice is smart, intimate without being over-the-shoulder, tells secrets from the armchair, and always gestures toward something inexplicable and heretofore unknown in the next room. The stories in this collection make me want to burn money, to have more courage and to fall in love.”
— Rebecca Curtis, author of Twenty Grand and Other Tales of Love & Money
“An extraordinary book that transcends gender and race and culture and sexual identity to speak to our universal humanity and the quest we all share for a self.”
— Robert Olen Butler
“Traversing queer love, sex and the myths of cultural conservatism, this young writer. . . challenges the legitimacy of the American Dream.”
— Lambda Literary
“The stories in Rahul Mehta’s Quarantine amplify a surprising new voice: gentle, even tender, but powerful.”
— Pankaj Mishra, author of Butter Chicken in Ludhiana
“A rich study of family ties, romantic failings and cultural disconnection told in crisp, clean prose”
— Kirkus Reviews
Harper Perennial, 9780062020451, 224pp.
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
About the Author
Rahul Mehta’s debut short story collection, Quarantine, won a Lambda Literary Award and the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction. His work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, the Sun, New Stories from the South, the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Marie Claire India, and other publications. An Out magazine “Out 100” honoree, he lives in Philadelphia with his partner and their dog, and teaches creative writing at the University of the Arts.