Winner of the 2021 St. Lawrence Book Award

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Set entirely in the Bangalore region of South India, Boomtown Girl explores the ambitions, delusions, and struggles of people navigating a rapidly developing city. A rebellious teenager and her workaholic father confront their mutual distrust while dining at a newly opened Pizza Hut; a tailor nostalgic for his past glory in the employ of an Englishman grows obsessed with an American customer; a techie, his fiancée having broken off their engagement, takes a young, eager intern into his confidence. These stories trace Bangalore’s warp-speed transformation from a leafy backwater into India’s Silicon Valley—a place where Digital Age values clash with tradition, where British colonialism casts its strong shadow, and where visions are inspired and distorted by the forces of globalization.

“The nine stories in Sunder’s debut collection contemplate change in the form of adolescent love, heartbreak, colonial legacy and liberalization in the quickly developing city of Bangalore, India.”

The New York Times

“Well crafted…(Sunder’s) expressive style depicts lives cocooned in uncertainty and loneliness, novelty and longing.”


“A nuanced and insightful collection of stories set in the Bangalore region of South India. Focused on themes of development, colonialism, tradition and globalization, this is a kaleidoscopic and intricately rendered volume.”

Ms. Magazine

Boomtown Girl is a volume of finely wrought stories. Shubha Sunder writes with such intelligence, grace and care that the common, ordinary lives depicted in these stories are dignified. This is a moving and necessary book.”

Ha Jin

“A sure-footed, magisterial and magical collection of stories.”

E.C. Osondu

Boomtown Girl charts the transformation of Bangalore and its environs, in all its grit and glitter. In virtuoistic and vital prose, Shubha Sunder’s nine stories bring indelible characters to life, portraying their hopes, dreams, and despair. A compelling debut.”

Vanessa Hua

“In Boomtown Girl, the immensely talented Shubha Sunder takes us into the heart of Bangalore society in the 1990s, a decade of great change. With writing that sparkles and flares, we become privy to individuals’ deepest striving and disappointment, their utterly relatable yearnings to burst beyond restrictions and to belong. I could read these fresh characters and their captivating stories for hours.”

Jennifer Acker