Growing up in suburban Cincinnati with Indian immigrant parents and a penchant for makeup and ballet, Kiran Sharma knew he was different. The children at Martin Van Buren Elementary School wouldn’t let him forget it. At twelve years old, though, Kiran couldn’t quite figure out the problem. One day he thought he came to a realization: Maybe he was actually the long-awaited reincarnation of the blue-skinned Hindu deity Krishna.
As the main character of Rakesh Satyal’s debut novel, Blue Boy (Kensington Books, 2009), Kiran overflows with personality like rich Indian cooking exudes smells. Struggling with the painful awkward pre-teen years, Kiran explores his Indian heritage, American identity, gender, and sexuality in endlessly endearing prose.
Rakesh, who happens to be a friend of mine, recently read from his novel in Minneapolis. Hearing him perform the voices of Kiran’s protective mother and his penny-pinching father in a flawless Indian accent reinforced the humor and wisdom infused throughout the novel.
As Kiran endures the youthful jeers and growing pains, a delightful portrait emerges of growing up gay and Indian in America. Explaining the endemic danger of suburbia, Satyal writes: “India may be full of man-eating tigers, but Ohio is full of Ohioans.”
Source: Blue Boy