The Startup Wife

Scribner. Jul. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781982156183. $26. F
After completing her ambitious “Bengal Trilogy” (A Golden Age; The Good Muslim; The Bones of Grace), Aman presents audiences with lighter fare. As the novel opens, readers meet twentysomething Bangledeshi American Asha, who is caught up in a whirlwind romance with her high school crush Cyrus Jones. They marry after a two-month relationship. Then, along with Cyrus’s best friend Julian (aka Jules), they lay the groundwork for a company that is accepted into Utopia, an organization that works with a select community of startups. Asha leaves her PhD program, and she and Cyrus move into her parents’ basement as they focus on successfully launching their company. Asha’s voice carries the novel; readers will follow eagerly as she grapples with her and Jules’s decision to have Cyrus serve as the face of the company while she works nonstop behind the scenes to create and sell it.
VERDICT Drawing on aspects of the author’s life, this tech-oriented novel offers readers a glimpse of the challenges of creating and running a startup. Anam brings the issue of gender equality in work and relationships to the forefront of the narrative. With a mention of the current pandemic woven into the story, Anam’s modern tale has plenty of talking points that will make it a good selection for book groups.
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