Now that the bookclub's met, I can put down my thoughts on this.
A good story with many subtleties that make it good for discussion - especially on a cozy couch over good cheese and tea!
One of the really interesting/ exciting side notes is that the Bengali weddings and rice ceremonies described in the book are events my friend Kat' has actually experienced in her Asian meanderings - and she has sent pictures of them, so I could actually translate one to the other!
The misery of Ashima, the mother, early in her American years is palpable, and a bit confusing to me. I understand the yearning for what is known, but to restrict oneself to Bengali acquaintances and food when those are hard to come by seems to be a catch-22. If you don't open yourself up to what's around you, aren't you bound to be lonely? This happened to me in Paris. And Ashima becomes much more content with her life when she makes friends of her own and has fond memories of things they have done that are their version of American customs.
I also hooked onto the idea of the rice ceremony and how it celebrates the beginning of a "lifetime of consumption" and the interesting perspective that might bring. Thinking of it now - I know it's already been explored, but I like the perspective and maybe I can take it in my own unique direction in writing or in life someday.