A heartfelt comedy of manners, Diksha Basu’s debut novel unfolds the story of a family discovering what it means to “make it” in modern India. For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all.
The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters. Brooklyn-based actress Soneela Nankani narrates. She is a voiceover artist and singer of Indian and Ghanaian descent who grew up traveling all over the world – to Ghana, India, Scotland, Thailand, Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, and the Czech Republic. She has a strong theatre background and has worked with Classical Theatre of Harlem, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Primary Stages, the Vineyard Playhouse and Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and Sojourn Theatre.
Tower Review: What was creating the characters of The Windfall on audio like for you, and what made the book special for you?
Nankani: “I truly enjoyed narrating The Windfall. It’s certainly one of the audiobooks I’m most proud of. The book really spoke to me as a story about the challenges of identity, transformation, duty and desire. And at the same time there is so much humor in it! Diksha Basu does an incredible job of balancing the two. In terms of how I work on character voices – I generally get a very clear image of the characters as I read. What makes them unique, what makes them tick. And I create voices from there. In this particular book there are a lot of characters! So I was very lucky to be working with a fantastic director, Paula Parker, who helped me find even greater specificity with which to imbue and distinguish the characters.”