2021 American Fiction Award: Winner
A 2021 Georgia Author of the Year Award Finalist
2021 International Book Awards, Finalist: Women's Fiction
2021 International Book Awards, Finalist: Multicultural Fiction
Featured in Travel + Leisure's "20 Most-anticipated Books for Fall" "20 Classic and New Books About Feminism That Will Get You Thinking and Talking" ―Parade "A moving and polished novel that highlights Rao's literary promise." ―Kirkus Reviews "Rao's resonant novel is an ode to the value of personal dignity and the importance of being true to oneself that carries on long after the final chapter." ―Newsweek magazine "Purple Lotus is the Atlanta novel you need to be reading this year... Tara is probably one of the strongest characters you'll find in Southern fiction." --ArtsATL "I'd recommend it to people who are fans of the expansive storytelling of Tayari Jones... and then to anyone who wants to add to their bookshelf of growing Atlanta literature." --PANK Magazine" "The dazzling tale of an Indian-American woman finding her way through the labyrinth of tradition to self-awareness in the modern world. The writer employs an energetic prose style interspersed with melodic passages to make the writing itself a hybrid. Set in particular times and places, Purple Lotus nonetheless appeals to readers everywhere, especially women, to claim the full measure of their human rights. A vivid and resplendent novel for our time." ―Elaine Neil Orr, critically acclaimed author of Swimming Between Worlds Tara moves to the American South three years after her arranged marriage to tech executive Sanjay. Ignored and lonely, Tara finds herself regressing back to childhood memories that have scarred her for life. When she was eight, her parents had left her behind with her aging grandparents and a schizophrenic uncle in Mangalore, while taking her baby brother with them to make a new life for the family in Dubai. Tara's memories of abandonment and isolation mirror her present life of loneliness and escalating abuse at the hands of her husband. She accepts the help of kind-hearted American strangers to fight Sanjay, only to be pressured by her patriarchal family to make peace with her circumstances. Then, in a moment of truth, she discovers the importance of self-worth--a revelation that gives her the courage to break free, gently rebuild her life, and even risk being shunned by her community when she marries her childhood love, Cyrus Saldanha. Life with Cyrus is beautiful, until old fears come knocking. Ultimately, Tara must face these fears to save her relationship with Cyrus--and to confront the victim-shaming society she was raised within. Intimate and deeply moving, Purple Lotus is the story of one woman's ascension from the dark depths of desolation toward the light of freedom.