A passage to Canada

From The Guardian:

The-Immigrant-by-Manju-Ka-002 Manju Kapur has a non-commonplace gift for writing about commonplace people without exaggerating their dullness for effect or falling into dullness herself. Flaubert is often supposed to be the master of this vein, but just as I find Middlemarch a far subtler, wider-ranging novel than Madame Bovary, I wonder if women aren't usually better at it than men, being perhaps better trained in showing patience with people's limitations. A middling kind of person is likely to belong to the middle classes, so in such a novel we forgo the glamour of the very rich and the very poor to muddle along with dentists and librarians. As most people live lives they believe to be ordinary, so the India and the Indians we meet in The Immigrant are not perceived as, and are not, exotic. Some of Kapur's finest comic moments (mild, bittersweet, like a good vermouth) involve culture-bound westerners: the virtuous horror that can't accept the routine nature of arranged marriage, even that of the couple you're talking to …

The couple are Nina, a college teacher of 30 in India, and Ananda, who has moved to Canada to get his degree and practise dentistry. Wanting a wife, he finds it easier to have his Indian family provide one than to find a Canadian one on his own. He brings Nina back and settles her down in Halifax – where he too, for years, had to face the awful loneliness of the recent immigrant. But he doesn't worry about Nina being bored or lonely. After all, she has him.

More here.