Indeed, she [Narayan] feeds readers a good story in her udderly delightful The Milk Lady of Bangalore ... When Narayan, her husband and their two daughters moved from New York City back to the couple’s native India, Narayan was no doubt looking for something to write about. She found it right in the elevator of her new apartment building: a cow riding up to the third floor for a housewarming ceremony, led by its owner, Sarala... Sarala led the author straight into a herd of often funny and always fascinating bovine adventures... There’s plenty of heart and soul in this book as Narayan takes readers on a unique tour of her Indian neighborhood, where there’s never a dull moment. Narayan is an astute observer, particularly of herself.
After living in a posh area of New York City, they [Shoba Narayan and her husband] make the adventurous decision to return to their native India, giving their children the opportunity to learn more about Indian culture and to grow up knowing their Indian relatives ... Narayan soon embarks on an unexpected journey into the world of cows ... Although for modern Hindus the holiness of the cow poses a contradiction of both acknowledgment and embarrassment, Narayan nevertheless welcomes her journey to better understand and appreciate the many roles that cows play in modern India ... In The Milk Lady of Bangalore, Narayan artfully chronicles her adventures into the world of bovine divinity and shares what she’s learned about how cows are woven into the fabric of Hindu culture. This book will teach readers everything they’ve ever wanted to know about the importance of cows in Indian society.
In a charming debut memoir, The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure, author Shoba Narayan and her husband, Ram, both of whom were born in India and came of age in the United States, decide to move back to Bangalore... Narayan deftly weaves the ayurvedic properties of milk, dung and even urine into a satisfying personal narrative of assimilation ... Despite this engaging mixture of science and culture, at times, the book has little forward momentum and relies too heavily on the relationship between Narayan and Sarala as its narrative spine ... A more detailed account of the gradations in class and caste in India would have provided greater context to their somewhat awkward exchanges and the tension inherent in their negotiations ... Despite this minor shortcoming, Narayan shines a lustrous light on the crucial and unexpected function cows play in her acclimatization to her old stamping grounds.