The Dream Builders (Paperback)
January 2023 Indie Next List
“A fascinating look at modern Indian culture through an imaginary city, a homage to consumerism, capitalism, and globalization. The creative structure pulls back the curtain and shows what it means to live in this glittery, modern place.”
— Cori Cusker, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ
A Good Morning America and PureWow Best Book of January
A Goodreads Buzziest Book of the New Year
A January Indie Next Pick & Debutiful Most Anticipated Book of 2023
“A marvel.” —Kevin Wilson
“Funny, moving, and often deliciously cynical.” —Tiphanie Yanique
After living in the US for years, Maneka Roy returns home to India to mourn the loss of her mother and finds herself in a new world. The booming city of Hrishipur where her father now lives is nothing like the part of the country where she grew up, and the more she sees of this new, sparkling city, the more she learns that nothing—and no one—here is as it appears. Ultimately, it will take an unexpected tragic event for Maneka and those around her to finally understand just how fragile life is in this city built on aspirations.
Written from the perspectives of ten different characters, Oindrila Mukherjee’s incisive debut novel explores class divisions, gender roles, and stories of survival within a society that is constantly changing and becoming increasingly Americanized. It’s a story about India today, and people impacted by globalization everywhere: a tale of ambition, longing, and bitter loss that asks what it really costs to try and build a dream.
About the Author
Oindrila Mukherjee is an associate professor of creative writing at Grand Valley State University. She grew up in Kolkata, India, and resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Reminds me of a Robert Altman film. . . . You'll want more of every single character.
— Good Morning America
A winning tale. . . . with sensitivity, beauty and depth. . . . that derives its heat and heart from its characters' humanity.
— Star Tribune
— Kirkus Reviews
— Foreword Reviews, Starred Review
A sweeping debut. . . . [Mukherjee] does a great job capturing the setting and exploring the fateful power dynamics. . . . a penetrating look at the fast-growing country’s shaky façade.
— Publishers Weekly
Epic. . . . A promising first novel.
A kaleidoscope of characters narrates this story of tragedy and grief. Mukherjee understands how to make characters leap off the page.
The Dream Builders is a novel of epic proportions that follows Maneka Roy and those around her as they each ponder the power of forgiveness and learn none of them can wield that power without first forgiving the self. Oindrila Mukherjee allows full life for these characters who are often real enough to remind us of ourselves, even as they betray one another. . . . even as they betray themselves. This is a lovely debut.
— Jericho Brown, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Tradition
Oindrila Mukherjee’s The Dream Builders is such an impressive feat of storytelling, a novel that examines the constraints of class, of gender, of history, while showcasing the sheer expansiveness of the endeavor, skillfully shifting the point of view amongst a group of characters who each demand a claim on the story. It’s a marvel of a structure, built by a great talent.
— Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here
Mukherjee has written a funny, moving, and often deliciously cynical novel about the illusive ideal we sometimes call the New India. Written from almost every angle imaginable, the novel demonstrates how each of us might be a hero in our own narratives while being the potential villain in someone else’s.
— Tiphanie Yanique, author of Monster in the Middle
A multitude of voices and visions—arresting, wrenching, desiring—come together to create an astonishing, and astonishingly accurate, portrait of contemporary India. Oindrila Mukherjee has done a superb job.
— Chitra Divakaruni, bestselling author of The Mistress of Spices
The Dream Builders showcases a vibrant cast of characters whose complex lives are a testament to India’s astonishing diversity. Oindrila Mukherjee has written a soulful novel that’ll break your heart with its truth.
— Samrat Upadhyay, author of Mad Country
This intricately plotted novel juxtaposes violence and betrayal with what may be our most deeply human impulse: hope.
A brilliantly crafted debut. . . . her strong, clear prose and flair for crafting distinct, believable characters makes the novel feel both empathetic and authentic.
— Washington Independent Review of Books