Seeking Fortune Elsewhere

Author: Bhanoo, Sindya

Publication Date:

February 2022



Original language and publisher

English | Catapult

Territories Handled

World excl. English North America


Short Stories


  • Pen/Robert W. Bingham Prize For Debut Short Story Collection (longlisted)

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere

Author: Bhanoo, Sindya


“These eight stories investigate the many ways that loneliness can enter a life and Bhanoo makes the reader feel every heartbreak through her skillful, measured prose.” — Star Tribune

“Stunning . . . Bhanoo finds novel ways for her protagonists to cope with adversity . . . This introduces a great new talent.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Bhanoo transforms human drama into mystery. Graceful stories by a writer with enormous empathy for even the most flawed and forlorn among us.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Exquisite . . . Bhanoo’s piercing stories further augment the growing shelves of spectacular first short story collections by women of color.”Booklist (starred review)

“Written with a roving curiosity, Bhanoo’s characters live and breathe like real people, their paths branching off the page and twining into your heart.”Chicago Review of Books, A Best Book of the Month 

“Speaks profoundly about what is gained and lost in the immigrant experience.”Alta, A Best Book of the Month

“Throughout each story, Sindya adds layers of nuance, so each story has subtleties that are’t immediately apparent until a second or third read. Most of all, Sindya’s skill in creating compelling plots does justice to the characters within them, often showing the importance of compassion. . . In Seeking Fortunate Elsewhere, you can sit down with these individuals, knowing that even if they are fiction, there is someone out there just like them.” —Shelf Unbound

“Bhanoo captures both the tenacity and tender humanity of her protagonists.” —Supriya Saxena, Zyzzyva

“Given Bhanoo’s eye for setting and detail, the stories are uniformly compelling . . . Full of empathy and emotional truth.” —Dr. Rajesh C. Oza, Khabar

“An extraordinary debut collection centering the complex and diverse experiences of South Asian immigrants.”—Karla Strand, Ms.

“Bhanoo’s command of language is meditative and deeply human . . . Seeking Fortune Elsewhere may be ingrained in a sense of diaspora and displacement. But one can’t help but feel that in her brilliant writing, Bhanoo has found her place.”—Valerie Wu, Asia Pacific Arts

“Seeking Fortune Elsewhere is a rare and breathtaking achievement, a collection of stories so original, so richly imagined and powerfully rendered, that it seems timeless. Each story is a multi-faceted jewel, refracting love and loss, casting a new and profound light on the shadows of the human heart. With her boundless talent, fierce intellect, and abiding curiosity about the souls of her characters, Sindya Bhanoo arrives as one of the most important writers of her generation.” —Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This

“This achingly beautiful collection charts the emotional journeys and complicated ties of those who choose to leave and those who are left behind. You will ache for the women at the center of these powerful stories. You will cry for their losses and celebrate their tiny victories. Bhanoo’s stories affirm humanity as only good literature can achieve. A magnificent debut of a writer you will read for years to come.” —Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept

“What a beautiful book Seeking Fortune Elsewhere is—stories about home, love, heartache, and betrayal, about the moral complexity of human love in all its varieties. Sindya Bhanoo describes her characters with an astonishing mixture of mercy and mercilessness, which is to say they live and breathe and will break your heart and stun you. Indeed, the whole book is stunning, and the good news is it’s only her first.” —Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Souvenir Museum

“I am still in the grip of this gorgeous collection. How thrilling to see women I know in these pages, tender and fierce, yearning for freedom yet plagued by the past. Each character has carved a precise space in my mind. Every one of these stories glows with truth.” —Tania James, author of The Tusk That Did the Damage

“I love how this book highlights the complexities of immigrants’ stories, and especially how it centers women navigating the space between who they have become and who they thought they were going to be. I see this book as an artful addition to the literature of migrations. I’m not the only one energized by Sindya’s prose: Granta has recently scooped up a story for publication!” —Megha Majumdar, acquiring editor & New York Times best-selling author of A Burning

These intimate stories of South Indian immigrants and the families they left behind center women’s lives and ask how women both claim and surrender power—a stunning debut collection from an O. Henry Prize winner.

Traveling from Pittsburgh to Eastern Washington to Tamil Nadu, these stories about dislocation and dissonance see immigrants and their families confront the costs of leaving and staying, identifying sublime symmetries in lives growing apart.

In “Malliga Homes,” selected by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for an O. Henry Prize, a widow in a retirement community glimpses her future while waiting for her daughter to visit from America. In “No. 16 Model House Road,” a woman long subordinate to her husband makes a choice of her own after she inherits a house. In “Nature Exchange,” a mother grieving in the wake of a school shooting finds an unusual obsession. In “A Life in America,” a professor finds himself accused of having exploited his graduate students.

Sindya Bhanoo’s haunting stories show us how immigrants’ paths, and the paths of those they leave behind, are never simple. Bhanoo takes us along on their complicated journeys where regret, hope, and triumph appear in disguise.

Marketing Information

  • A Debutiful Can’t-Miss Book
  • A Ms. Most Anticipated Book of the Year