15 March, 2013

#SpecialFeature:: #Spotlight on The Two Krishnas / The Exiles by Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - March'13 ***

'The Two Krishnas' has been released in India under the title of 'The Exiles'.
In the tradition of A Fine Balance and The Namesake, The Two Krishna is a sensual and searing look at infidelity and the nature of desire and faith. At the center of the novel is Pooja Kapoor, a betrayed wife and mother who is forced to question her faith and marriage when she discovers that her banker husband Rahul has fallen in love with a young Muslim illegal immigrant man who happens to be their son’s age. Faced with the potential of losing faith in Rahul, divine intervention and family, she is forced to confront painful truths about the past and the duality in God and husband. The Two Krishnas draws inspiration from archetypal Hindu mythology and romantic Sufi poetry, evoking unforgettable characters to explore how, with a new world come new freedoms, and with them, the choices that could change everything we know about those we thought we knew – including ourselves. 

Watch an interview of Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla discussing The Two Krishnas

Read an Excerpt

Pooja shut the door behind her and faced the standing full-length oval mirror in the bedroom.  Her home, silent now that Ajay had sprinted off with his friends, became a charterhouse again, a place where belongings lay everywhere but nobody but herself seemed to reside anymore.  Without the pandemonium of TV, or a soundtrack of music, you could hear the ghosts, their phantom sounds marking past moments of shared laughter.
She began to unwind her sari, keeping her eyes on her reflection.  Folds of chiffon fell without protest on the carpeted floor, a pond of gold paisleys in an ocean of saffron.  She continued to shed endless yards of it, thinking of Draupadi, whose honor Krishna had defended when her five husbands, the Pandava brothers, had gambled her away to their Machiavellian half-brothers.  She unhooked her blouse, stepped out of her gagra and stood naked with only the gold bangles on her slender wrist, the voluptuous earrings dangling against the velvety mane of her black hair, the almost glowing bindi on her forehead.   

She stepped closer to the mirror and looked at herself, drawing her uncertain hand over her skin.  Her flesh broke out in little goose pimples.  By all accounts, she was still a beautiful woman, able to turn heads wherever she went.  She should have seen that her skin was still smooth and soft.  The few wrinkles that traced through her tea-colored skin were more like beautiful rills racing across a seastrand, the curves in her body like sensual dunes in which to lie.   
But she could see none of this.  
Instead she saw Rahul’s rejection, how time had carried out its careless dalliance with her body.  She saw the brackets etched permanently around her full mouth, no longer just an indention from the smiles she had reserved for Rahul. She saw – not the ampleness of her breasts or the tamarind in her nipples – but their weight and slump.  She ran her hand over her belly, no longer the taught landscape of a young girl but that of a mother, soft and fleshy.  Is that when it stopped? She wondered.  Did he stop wanting me, looking at me the same way after I gave him his son?  Or did it begin before that, after the nightmare back home?
She summoned more strength and let her fingers traverse further, into the thatch of hair where she wanted him again, recalling the last time he had come to her, angry, grueling, backbreaking.  Yes, she would take him any way he would come to her, especially if he was suffering.  He was her husband, her lord, and the years had done nothing to dissipate her desire for him.  After all this time, she still burned for Rahul.

Raves & Reviews

“Serves as an exploration of love in its many forms: romantic, familial, and filial, among others. The novel provides a refreshing view of life and love in Los Angeles, particularly in the South Asian immigrant community…The Two Krishnas isn’t strictly an immigrant narrative, a coming out narrative, or a religious narrative but rather lies somewhere between them all…The book draws a distinct line between love and passion and the way in which those feelings move us to action…A poignant mediation on love and relationship. The novel prompts reflection on how we form our identities and ultimately questions our duties to our families and ourselves.” – Los Angeles Magazine.

“Stands to be added to such to be added to novels such as The Namesake and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan as a story that blends relatable human drama with the tapestry of different cultures.” – Frontiers Magazine.

“Plays out like a modern Shakespearean tragedy. Krishnas is a multilayered, richly written story exploring a sexless marriage, a family drifting apart, the trappings of middle age, the thrill and fear of newfound same-sex love and the cultural insights of those that have immigrated to our country.” - Instinct Magazine.

“As with Ode to Lata, his (semi) autobiographical debut novel about a young Hindu man coming to terms with being gay, out Indian author, Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla continues to write about provocative subject matters.” - Advocate Magazine.

"The Two Krishnas is a...love story set in contemporary Los Angeles that is both up-to-the-minute and drenched in a romantic doom as riveting as the myths of ancient India. The skillfully plotted story of divided loyalties has so much heart it's at times painful to read, but is far too honest to put down - a fascinating read." - Andrew Holleran, author of the Stonewall Book Award-winning novel, Grief.

"In his elegiac, yet redemptive new book, Ghalib Shiraz examines sexual politics, gender orientations, and how the clash between what is and what should be can fester deep wounds...Dhalla takes relationships into deeper, more murky territory." - Elle Magazine.

"World clash and lives are destroyed...It's pretty sad that women being married to gay men and then feeling undesired and unloved is as universal a theme as the resultant destructive infidelity...Ghalib peppers his story with full-on drama and describes both the city of Los Angeles and the lives of its desi immigrants extremely evocatively." - Verve Magazine.

"Another masterfully written novel by the brilliant young writer Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla, an accomplished filmmaker and author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Ode to Lata. This fiction novel is simply wonderful...A powerful and interesting novel." - Sahara Time (New Delhi)

"A book about love coming out of the closet, and since it is not exactly between man and wife, there is inevitable trauma in the family...Dhalla has detailed all this with fascinating humanity and compassion and we find ourselves immersed in the story without having to cope with our own conservative heterosexual reservations that the subject normally, and unfortunately, evokes." - Afternoon Despatch & Courier (India)

"The Two Krishnas is a beautiful, sometimes joyful, yet heartbreaking exploration of love in all its manifestations. Here it is many days later, and I still find myself thinking about Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla's insights into the fierceness and frailty of the human heart. Oh, the things we will do for and in the name of love. Dhalla is a brilliant young writer, and his novel is exquisite, drenched in emotion, and timely." - Lisa See, best-selling author of Shanghai Girls and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

"In The Two Krishnas, a novel filled with unexpected turns and beauty, Ghalib Shiraz has examined with perceptive compassion the complex and heart-wrenching ties that bind families, and the secret desires that pull them apart. - Chitra Divakaruni, best-selling author of The Palace of Illusions.

"Shiraz immerses us in his gripping narrative as he delves into the nooks and crannies of human desire and explores both its splendor and the havoc it can wreak. A formidably intelligent and adept writer, he has stretched my understanding of a world I know very little about with this touching and masterfully written novel." - Bapsi Sidhwa, author of New York Times Notable novel Cracking India.

"Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla writes with a voice that is both agile and compassionate. He renders scenes of great emotion with equal parts passion and precision. At it's core, The Two Krishnas is a classic tale of tragic, forbidden love, but Dhalla infuses it with an astute discussion of Hindu culture that should appeal to a broad cross-section of readers. - Christopher Rice, New York Times best-selling author of A Density of Souls and Blind Fall.

"The Two Krishnas is a powerful, sure footed novel of love, longing and loss that richly portrays life like no other work of fiction I've read. With his complex cast of characters and poetically drawn landscapes, Dhalla's talent shines and he shows us he's wise beyond his years." - Mark Jude Poirier, author of Goats and Modern Ranch Living.

Contact the Author

Buy the Books

Mr.Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla has sportingly agreed to giveaway 2 Autographed Copies of 'The Two Krishnas' to the residents of US and 1 Paperback of 'The Exiles' to a lucky resident of India.
I have set up two separate Rafflecopters one for US Entries and one for Indian Entries. Please enter in the right Rafflecopter.
Also, please remember I will be checking the entries.
All the Best!

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  2. The excerpt flows with passion and grace - nice job. Just wondering where the idea of the book came from.

    Sandy S

  3. These covers are so beautiful and the synopsis so intriguing. I'm definitely excited to read more based on the excerpts provided. Congrats! Wishing you much success.

    Mirely @ Rumor Has It