If Today Be Sweet
A NovelBook - 2007
Tehmina Sethna's beloved husband has died this past year and she is visiting her son, Sorab, in his suburban Ohio home. Now Tehmina is being asked to choose between her old, familiar life in India and a new one in Ohio with her son, his American wife, and their child. She must decide whether to leave the comforting landscape of her native India for the strange rituals of life in a new country.
This is a journey Tehmina, a middle-aged Parsi woman, must travel alone.
The Parsis were let into India almost a millennium ago because of their promise to "sweeten" and enrich the lives of the people in their adopted country. This is an ancient promise that Tehmina takes seriously. And so, while faced with the larger choice of whether to stay in America or not, Tehmina is also confronted with another, more urgent choice: whether to live in America as a stranger or as a citizen. Citizenship implies connection, participation, and involvement. Soon destiny beckons in the form of two young, troubled children next door. It is the plight of these two boys that forces Tehmina to choose. She will either straddle two worlds forever and live in a no-man's land or jump into the fullness of her new life in America.
If Today Be Sweet is a novel that celebrates family and community. It is an honest but affectionate look at contemporary America--the sterility of its suburban life, the tinsel of its celebrity culture, but also the generosity of its people and their thirst for connection and communication. Eloquently written, evocative, and unforgettable, If Today Be Sweet is a poignant look at issues of immigration, identity, family life, and hope. It is a novel that shows how cultures can collide and become better for it.