SUCH BIG DREAMS by REEMA PATEL
A fresh, propulsive debut novel about fortune and survival
•Named a CBC Canadian Fiction title to watch!
Rakhi is a twenty-three-year-old former street child haunted by the grisly aftermath of an incident that led her to lose her best friend eleven years ago. Constantly reminded she doesn’t belong, Rakhi lives alone in a Mumbai slum, working as a lowly office assistant at Justice For All, a struggling human rights law office headed by the renowned lawyer who gave her a fresh start.
Fiercely intelligent and in possession of a sharp wit and an even sharper tongue, Rakhi is nobody’s fool, even if she is underestimated by everyone around her. Rakhi’s life isn’t much, but she’s managing. That is until a fading former Bollywood starlet tries to edge her way back into the spotlight by becoming a celebrity ambassador for Justice For All. Steering the organization into uncharted territories, she demands an internship for her young Canadian family friend, Alex, a Harvard-bound graduate student. Ambitious, persistent, and naive, Alex persuades Rakhi to show him “the real” India. In exchange, he’ll do something to further Rakhi’s dreams in a transaction that seems harmless, at first.
As old guilt and new aspirations collide, everything Rakhi once knew to be true is set ablaze. And as the stakes mount, she will come face to face with the difficult choices and moral compromises that people are prepared to make in order to survive, no matter the costs. Reema Patel’s transportive debut novel offers a moving, smart, and arrestingly funny look at the cost of ambition and power in reclaiming one’s story.
Praise for Such Big Dreams“
An appealing debut…Cynical, street-smart Rakhi is . . . a sharply drawn protagonist [who] gives this novel power and zest.”—Kirkus Reviews
“From the very first page, Such Big Dreamsgrabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Reema Patel’s prose jumps with energy, plunging the reader into a page-turner of a story that doesn’t shy away from exploring hard and painful truths about the way people navigate the systemic conditions of society. With assured writing, Patel explores themes ranging from societal elitism to the nuances of interpersonal betrayal and never loses sight of pacing. Visceral and kinetic, Such Big Dreamsis a splash of a debut.” -ZALIKA REID-BENTA, author of Frying Plantain
REEMA PATEL holds a B.A. from McGill University and a J.D. from the University of Windsor. After working in Mumbai in the youth non-profit sector and in human rights advocacy, she has spent the last ten years working in provincial and municipal government. Such Big Dreamsis her first novel, and an excerpt from the novel won the PenguinRandom House Student Award for Fiction at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. She lives in Toronto, where she currently works as a lawyer.