I write books.  So far three, available here

My first book, Monsoon Diary, was published by Random House in the US in 2003. It was later published in paperback in the UK, Australia, India and the Netherlands. Since I love book jackets, I am including their photos below. The hardcover version has my mother-in-law in the cover. A different version was also planned with a group photo of the family. That was scrapped.

Monsoon Diary Paperback US
Monsoon Diary Hardcover US
Monsoon Diary Australia
Monsoon Diary UK
Monsoon Diary Paperback US


See this image

Return to India: an immigrant memoir Paperback – October 16, 2012

 Return to India is a powerful memoir about what it means to be an immigrant in a foreign country and what propels immigrants to return to their homeland. Following in the tradition of her first book, Monsoon Diary: a memoir with recipes, award-winning author, Shoba Narayan explores themes of family, culture and identity. In vivid and heartfelt prose, Shoba Narayan describes the trajectory of her immigrant life from the salty plains of South India to the high rises of New York and Boston. From the exhilarating thrill of being a new immigrant to becoming an angst-ridden mother grappling with hyphenated identities, Narayan describes the life of an immigrant with humor and insight. She talks about why she yearned for America and became a citizen of the land she would ultimately leave. Return to India is about love and loss; about family and identity; and about the quest for a place called home. Return to India is about the costs of chasing the American dream and the complications of returning to your homeland. Rich in detail and empathetic in tone, this book will resonate with immigrants and diaspora from all cultures.

Katha: Tell a Story, Sell a Dream Hardcover – Unabridged, Import

19 replies to Books
  1. Dear Shoba Avargal:
    Just finished reading your enchanting MILK LADY…. Will now order RETURN TO INDIA from Amazon.
    Is the picture of your mother in law on the cover of MONSOON DIARY that of Padma Ramachandran
    who was Chief Secretary of Kerala? It looks to me like this lady who was a contemporary of mine in
    Presidency College, Madras/Chennai. Like you, I am a Tamil Brahmin from Chennai, but living in and
    expecting to die in the USA.
    Ramachandran Bharath
    Professor Emeritus, Northern Michigan University


    1. Dear Shri Bharath avargale. Romba nandri. Yes, the photo on the cover is my mother in law. Many thanks for your message. My mother in law attended Queen Mary’s College but she was a debator so perhaps you have met her.


      1. Dear Shoba Avargal:
        Thank you for taking the trouble to reply so quickly. Obviously I mistook the picture on the cover of MONSOON DIARY.
        All best wishes.


      2. Dear Shoba Avargal:
        Following our exchange of messages, I thought of looking up the Padma (nee Narayanaswami) I knew in
        Presidency College 1951-54 and found the following:

        It turns out from this article of yours that the person I was thinking of is in fact your mother-in-law !
        However, she would not remember me because even though I joined the I.A.S. a year after she did,
        I worked in Gujarat State and the Government of India and she worked in Kerala. After I quit
        the I.A.S. and became an academic, I had visited India as a Fulbright Scholar and had contacted
        the then Chief Secretary of Kerala, but that too was a brief contact and long ago, 1989 so
        she would not remember that either.


            1. Dear Shoba Avargal:
              After reading MILK LADY OF BANGALORE, I have now finished reading RETURN TO INDIA, and MONSOON DIARY. Now, when does your next book come out, or has it already been published?


  2. Hello Shoba mam..picked your book Monsoon Diary from a book fair in Chennai. I really loved reading your experiences laced with anecdotes. And I loved the part where you spoke about your grandmother, the most.


  3. Shoba, I picked up your book on a whim at a library in Edmonton, Canada and I as I read, I was whisked away from the ice and snow to the warmth of your memories of home and of your family. I thoroughly enjoyed your book and wanted to thank you for sharing it. Writing is obviously a gift of yours, and I look forward to your next contribution! Thank you so much, and take care!


  4. Dear Ms Narayan
    I came across your totally accidentally.And it was
    riveting reading! Living in India because I like it here and with
    my children and grand children in the US because they
    like it there- your book conjured up many memories.
    Wish you all the best

    PS We all love Vatha Kozhambu! No particular significance however.


  5. Vanakam shoba.
    A love the book monsoon diary.
    A am from the netherlands but travel to tamil nadu and a love the food.
    Youre book is my favorite book ,and a love to make the rasam and al the indians food.
    Graeting marisca molenguis


  6. Dear Ms. Narayan, I loved reading your book Monsoon Diary. We share a similar migrating to America story. I was nostalgic about my own childhood, in Karachi, after reading about your childhood memories. Your coming to America observations are particularly accurate and mirror mine exactly. The recipes are a bonus and a delectable encouragement to cook vegetarian. Thank you, Erum


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