Named an ELLE BEST BOOK OF 2024

Named a BEST or MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR by Readers’ Digest, Elle Magazine, CondeNast Traveler, Publishers’ Weekly, Indigo, ZibbyMag, Goodreads, BookBub & more

 “A deeply moving, layered portrait of the hopes, dreams and fears a family carries as ‘other’ in the face of the modern American Dream." -- Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push and The Whispers

Pacific Hills, California: Gated communities, ocean views, well-tended lawns, serene pools, and now the new home of the Shah family. For the Shah parents, who came to America twenty years earlier with little more than an education and their new marriage, this move represents the culmination of years of hard work and dreaming. For their children, born and raised in America, success is not so simple.

For the most part, these differences among the five members of the Shah family are minor irritants, arguments between parents and children, older and younger siblings. But one Saturday night, the twelve-year-old son is arrested. The fallout from that event will shake each family member’s perception of themselves as individuals, as community members, as Americans, and will lead each to consider: how do we define success? At what cost comes ambition? And what is our role and responsibility in the cultural mosaic of modern America?

For readers of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, A Great Country explores themes of immigration, generational conflict, social class and privilege as it reconsiders the myth of the model minority and questions the price of the American dream.

About the author(s)

Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Her previous novels, Secret Daughter, The Golden Son, and The Shape of Family became international bestsellers, selling over two million copies worldwide, in over 30 languages. She holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar. She lives in California with her husband and children.


"With vivid characters and an absorbing plot, A Great Country asks important ques­tions about race, class, and what it really means to 'make it' in the U.S. today." — Real Simple

“A deeply moving, layered portrait of the hopes, dreams and fears a family carries as ‘other’ in the face of the modern American Dream, where social currency and privilege threaten even the most basic of instincts: to protect one’s child at all costs. Shilpi Somaya Gowda has the incredible gift of telling poignant, empathetic stories that make us think differently about the world we live in, and A Great Country is no exception.”  — Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push and The Whispers

"In A Great Country, Shilpi Somaya Gowda has crafted a moving story of an immigrant family's challenges in the wake of their son's troubling arrest. Each character and situation is drawn with heart and nuance, resulting in a masterful portrayal of the pressures on and prejudices of well-meaning people. Right and wrong, good and bad: if only life were so simple. This is a thought-provoking, truly worthwhile book." — Therese Ann Fowler

"Shilpi has done it again with A Great Country-- a tender, multi-layered meditation on family and community and how we find our way to belonging in both. The novel is also a poignant reminder that politics (and social justice) is always personal. I know other readers will fall as hard for the Shah family as I did and be enriched by the deep levels of empathy this engrossing story evokes."  — Christine Pride, author of We Are Not Like Them

"Shilpi Somaya Gowda deftly explores racial biases and class divides in this riveting, layered, and empathetic tale. Readers will feel deeply for the Shah family even as mistakes and miscalculations escalate, and convictions are challenged by real life. A GREAT COUNTRY is a timely, honest, and powerful story, and one that is sure to spark much discussion." — Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment and The Lipstick Bureau

"Poignant and propulsive, Shilpi Somaya Gowda's A Great Country grips you from the very first page and refuses to let you go. Filled with empathy and nuance, this thrilling exploration of immigration, the American Dream and the model minority myth will touch your heart and mind. A gorgeous read!" — Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of The Leftover Woman

“A bold and unapologetic read about the precariousness of one Indian-American family’s attempts to assimilate and how quickly and carelessly a model minority becomes just a minority. Gowda crafts a page turner seeped in observations about justice and injustice in this great country.” — Vibhuti Jain, author of Our Best Intentions

"Scorching...[Gowda's] light touch is refreshing and graced with nuance, allowing her to find the truth in a wide range of perspectives. Readers won’t want to put this down." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Gowda is superb at plotting and pacing, and the book spirits readers along. At the same time we learn enough of the histories of her characters to slow down and understand their dilemmas and the deep emotional stress these events place the family under. We feel for them and we will continue to think about them. Which, really, is just about the best we can hope for from a good read." — BookPage

"Gowda's storytelling prowess shines through in this emotionally charged tale of survival, understanding, and familial unity in the face of adversity." — Booklist

“Gowda renders even the worst decisions made by the Olanders with compassion and insight, so much so that rooting for them—despite and because of their fragility—becomes a pleasure. I know these characters, and I love them, and for some unnameable hours in this uneasy spring, their journey from life, to death, to life was also mine. What a gift, to be that transported, and, eventually—blessedly—transformed." — San Francisco Chronicle on The Shape of Family

"Not simply a story about tragedy or even the dangers of fervent devotion, but a story about mourning in all its myriad forms." — San Diego Union-Tribune on The Shape of Family

"A deeply involving story of a family falling apart, The Shape of Family rings so true." — Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room