Lake Union (Amazon Publishing) has signed a debut novel and a follow-up by Archana Maniar, an exciting new voice in book club fiction. Editor Victoria Oundjian bought world English rights from Olivia Maidment at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency.
Maniar’s debut Dry Spells (May 2024) follows the journey of Shyamala Mehta as she attempts to escape a crushing heartbreak by relocating to Mumbai, the city her mother left behind a generation ago that is currently living through a devastating drought. As the taps run dry the air is heavy with secrets, but when the deluge finally comes, will she be ready for what it might reveal—about her mother, herself, and the city she’s starting to think of as home?
Born in Chicago, Maniar grew up in the US and Mumbai before settling in California. She is a doctor, and worked on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dry Spells is a culmination of decades of observations of life both in the East and the West, years of studying human nature during stress and sickness, and a love for storytelling.
Archana said: As the American-born daughter of Indian immigrants who relocated back to Mumbai when I was young, I have always been charmed by the immense warmth of family back home and captivated by the sensory experience that is India. When I started writing Dry Spells, I had a kernel of an idea, a desire to capture the sweeping cityscape of Mumbai, but no formal training in storytelling. Over the years, I thought about the novel obsessively, squeezing the writing into the margins of my day and watching the characters and places I had seen or imagined come to life. Back then, I never dreamed that the book would one day be published. I feel incredibly privileged that Dry Spells found a home with Victoria Oundjian at Lake Union Publishing and ever so grateful for the dedication of Olivia Maidment and the team at the Madeleine Milburn Agency.
Oundjian said: Archana has created the most immersive and evocative world in Dry Spells. Utilising her impressive skills she brings Mumbai vividly to life and truly involves the reader in Shyamala’s journey. This is a novel I couldn’t put down and I’m thrilled that soon readers across the English-speaking world will be discovering it in 2024.
Maidment said: Dry Spells is a love letter to culture, family, food, tradition, and history. It is a sweeping, debut that explores the intertwined fates of a mother and daughter and the enduring power that family secrets have on our lives. I am so proud of Archana for all of the hard work she has put into her beautiful debut and thrilled that she has found her perfect publishing home.