Blog Tour: Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide

Book Review: Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide

 

Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide

Fiction: Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide

Blog Tour March 7, 2022

 

What do you get when a famous chef writes a novel? Well, at least when this reviewer reads it and writes about it, you will get a lot of food similes and metaphors. Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken is a savory dish, filled with spices of India, delicious and satisfying and comforting, the kind of book that sates your appetite and warms your heart. It is not too heavy nor too light. Monica Bhide chooses her ingredients well, provides just enough heat for them to cook, and presents readers with a plate that is delightful to look at and insists on being devoured.

 

I’m not done, but let’s get to the book itself.

 

Eshaan Veer Singh is a young man who lives in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. He is not a monk. His father missing and his mother dead, the orphaned child grew up under the protection of the monks just outside of New Delhi. Still living in the monastery, Eshaan has a dream. He wants to open a free kitchen to feed the poor. His mother essentially died from poverty: malnutrition and no medical care. Eshaan dreams of creating a place where people like his mother, people like the child he was, had a place to eat and work and be safe. There is one major problem with Eshaan’s dream: Eshaan himself.

 

The young man is a tireless worker. He is trying to save enough money to start the kitchen. But when he sees someone in need, he cannot help but try to help them. Rather than putting money in the bank, he often takes his payments, buys food, and hands it out to beggars. He may be part saint. He definitely is no businessman.

 

Eshaan’s friends decide to help him by entering him into a cooking show. The book opens with him at the show’s taping before moving back in time to see how he got there. The contest is to create a taste from his childhood. Eshaan creates something that smells amazing and looks incredible. Before the judges can taste it, though, he pulls it away from them and dumps it into the trash. The only taste of his childhood was that of hunger and empty bowls, he tells them. I could see and smell the bounty all around, but none of it was for me.

 

His hopes of winning the money and apparently opening the kitchen seem over before the book starts.

 

Monica Bhide does not let our hero fail so easily. Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken is many things. It is the story of a young man who survives despite the odds. A young man who maintains his sweetness and love for others despite the cruelty of his own childhood. A young man who loves a woman–a woman engaged to another man. A young man who has developed a talent with food, who has a heart for humanity, and a mission for his life. A young man with friends who are determined to help him succeed in spite of (or maybe empowered by) his flaws. It is an unflinching look at New Delhi, home of rich and poor, elite and desperate, beggars and thugs and stars and magnates. It is a celebration of food that inspires and sustains, that gives life and joy, that should belong to all but instead separates the haves from the have-nots. It is full of optimism and humor, humanity and love, failure and moving beyond failure.

 

It is everything you want from a meal. Read it, eat it, savor it, and I promise you will be satisfied.

Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide
Monica Bhide, Author

Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide

Our thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for our copy of Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, given for our honest review as part of this blog tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.

 

Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide

Book Review: Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide

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