Polite Society

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Product Details

$26.00  $24.18
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.0 X 1.1 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

Mahesh Rao is the author of the award-winning novel The Smoke Is Rising and a book of short stories One Point Two Billion, both published in the UK to wonderful reviews. He was born and brought up in Nairobi, has worked in the UK as a lawyer, researcher and bookseller, and currently lives most of the year in India. Polite Society is his American debut.


"Is it possible to marry a book? Because Polite Society is so funny, smart, sophisticated, and captivating, you just want to spend your whole life with it. It was love at first sight from the very first page and I never wanted it to end."
--Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians

"Clever, rich-in-insight, and with a discomfiting wit and impeccable prose, Polite Society uncovers some of the best blessings of Austen. Dear reader, this book is delicious!"
--Jade Chang, author of The Wangs vs. the World

"With biting wit, this send-up of high society deflates social strata while bringing tenderness and romance to its comedy of manners."

"A charmingly hilarious modern reimagining of Jane Austen's Emma set in a New Delhi high society where the houses are luxurious, everyone is scheming and secrets don't stay secrets for long."
--New York Post

"Bitingly funny."
--Publishers Weekly

"Chock-full of shimmering, glittering, and gleaming things [and] proceeds through a (dare I say) richly imagined world of Delhi's upper crust. . . . Rao's gift is his ability to depict the elevated stakes of small gestures and etiquette. . . [He] writes with knowing insight on the hearts of the aspiring rich."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"A picture of what it's like to chase happiness in a society riddled with codes and an endless supply of money. Hilarious, scandalous and fascinating, Polite Society adds an interesting, modern layer to a complex culture."

"Under the surface glamour of Polite Society lies a compelling story about the universal need to love and be loved, and the emotional fallibility of even the most outwardly successful people."

"Fun and gossipy . . . It's full of smart and glamorous characters, taking you beyond a typical beach read to a story that illuminates a beautiful and fascinating culture."

"The pace and breezy style, along with sometimes broad but always entertaining characters, will keep readers enchanted."

"The book sucks you into the mystifying world of the Delhi elite...A page-turner."
--The Observer

"Witty, smart, compelling."
--Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire

"The only way to write an Austentatious novel."
--Financial Times

"If you merged the cast of Clueless with the money of Crazy Rich Asians and added the sparkling despair of The Great Gatsby, you get an approximation of Polite Society. . . A quite fascinating - and probably, very honest - portrayal, and very perceptively written."

"Witty, clever, and wise...Rao delivers a story deserving of the same popularity as Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians. A great choice for Austenites, fans of classic retellings, and general fiction."
--Library Journal

"As an adaptation of Emma, Polite Society is faithful to the core of the original plot, but not at the expense of its own narrative requirements. . . . Austen's fiction is notable for its relative lack of sensory detail: Polite Society is full of vivid, specific images, sounds and smells, given to us by the omniscient narrator."
The Hindu

"Reading Polite Society is like crashing a posh party. With wit and humor, Mahesh Rao grants us access to a world we rarely get to see: Delhi's wealthy elite. Where so much fiction from the subcontinent is about poverty and political corruption, Polite Society is a rare and precious gem."
--Neel Patel, author of If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

"Rao has a great eye for absurd detail and a sensitive ear for what's not said."
--Mohammed Hanif, author of Red Birds

"A bitingly funny version of Austen's Emma....Could have been titled Crazy Rich Indians."
--South China Morning Post

"An unputdownable jewel of a novel by a writer of astonishing talent."
--Sonia Faleiro, author of Beautiful Thing