If You See Me, Don't Say Hi: Stories
Author: Patel, Neel
Publisher: Flatiron Books
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice and an NPR Best Book of the Year
In his sharp, surprising debut, Neel Patel gives voice to our most deeply held stereotypes and then slowly undermines them. His characters, almost all of who are first-generation Indian Americans, subvert our expectations that they will sit quietly by. We meet two brothers caught in an elaborate web of envy and loathing; a young gay man who becomes involved with an older man whose secret he could never guess; three women who almost gleefully throw off the pleasant agreeability society asks of them; and, in the final pair of linked stories, a young couple struggling against the devastating force of community gossip.
If You See Me, Don't Say Hi examines the collisions of old world and new world, small town and big city, traditional beliefs (like arranged marriage) and modern rituals (like Facebook stalking). Ranging across the country, Patel's stories--empathetic, provocative, twisting, mordantly funny, and defiant--contradict the model minority myth, giving us a bold new portrait of the brown experience, and of America.