Named a CBC Canadian Fiction title to watch, SUCH BIG DREAMS takes the reader deep into the heart of Mumbai and Indian culture. The book tells the story of Rakhi a former street child working a low-grade job in a human rights office. It’s there she develops a friendship with a privileged Harvard-bound Canadian intern who offers to pay her and help further her dreams if she shows him the “real India”— he wants to visit the slum where she lives, ride the overcrowded train with “regular people” where he almost gets crushed, and is fascinated by her stories of survival on the streets. Battling haunting memories of her former life and struggling to build a path forward, Rakhi accepts his offer. The exchange seems harmless at first, but soon Rakhi comes face-to-face with the difficult choices and moral compromises people must make in order to survive, no matter the costs. This transportive debut novel offers a moving, smart, and arrestingly funny look at the cost of ambition and power in reclaiming one’s story.
Author REEMA PATEL is a lawyer for the City of Toronto and has spent the last 10 years working in provincial and municipal government. Before that, she worked in Mumbai in the youth non-profit sector and in human rights advocacy, where she fought to protect children’s rights and street youth.
PRAISE FOR SUCH BIG DREAMS
“An appealing debut. . . . Cynical, street-smart Rakhi is . . . a sharply drawn protagonist [who] gives this novel power and zest.”— Kirkus Reviews
“Such Big Dreams charts the ambitions, disappointments, and dreams of two people who are improbably thrust together as they try to find their way in—and make their mark on—a bustling Mumbai that’s indifferent to their struggles. Unflinching and unsentimental, yet written with compassion and insight, Such Big Dreams is a richly textured and powerful novel that, like Mumbai itself, pulsates with humanity. Reema Patel is a writer to watch. I absolutely loved this book.” — Bianca Marais, author of Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh
“From the very first page, Such Big Dreams grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Reema Patel’s prose jumps with energy, plunging the reader into a page-turner of a story that doesn’t shy away from exploring hard and painful truths about the way people navigate the systemic conditions of society. With assured writing, Patel explores themes ranging from societal elitism to the nuances of interpersonal betrayal and never loses sight of pacing. Visceral and kinetic, Such Big Dreams is a splash of a debut.” — Zalika Reid-Benta, author of Frying Plantain