*Winner of the 2023 Oregon Book Award for Fiction * Winner of the 2022 New American Voices Award * Finalist for the 2023 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize * Winner of the Writers League of Texas Book Award * Longlisted for the 2023 Story Prize * Longlisted for the 2023 Carnegie Medal for Excellence * Finalist for the Sergio Troncoso Award for Best First Book of Fiction *

2023 ALA RUSA Notable Book

Kirkus Reviews, A Best Fiction Book of the Year

Debutiful Can’t-Miss Book

Ms. Most Anticipated Book of the Year


“These stories rattle and shake with the heartache of separation, rendering palpable the magnitude of small decisions in our less-than-small world.” —Samantha Hunt, New York Times Book Review

“Yearning drives the characters in Sindya Bhanoo’s elegant, sensitive debut collection Seeking Fortune Elsewhere . . . These eight stories investigate the many ways that loneliness can enter a life and Bhanoo makes the reader feel every heartbreak through her skillful, measured prose.” —Jenny Shank, Star Tribune

“Reconceptualizes the great American road trip, centering Indian immigrants—particularly, Tamil women—and their children as its drivers and passengers . . . The journeys . . . carry readers across the vast American landscape, transcending state boundaries and biomes to stitch a narrative mosaic, its patches cut from distinct corners of the country . . . Bhanoo tackles complexity with a light hand. The writing is lush and sensory . . . With Seeking Fortune Elsewhere and its glimpse into the lives of Tamil immigrants, Bhanoo artfully extends the burgeoning South Asian American literary canon’s trajectory.” —Meena Venkataramanan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Eight slice-of-life narratives . . . Seeking Fortune Elsewhere favors the zero endings of Anton Chekhov and aims toward the emotional, if not the stylistic, lineage of Jhumpa Lahiri and Akhil Sharma . . . The appeal of Seeking Fortune Elsewhere resides in its gentle trust that culturally faithful stories can and should slip easily across borders.” —Anita Felicelli, Alta

“An extraordinary debut collection centering the complex and diverse experiences of South Asian immigrants.” —Karla Strand, Ms.

“Written with a roving curiosity, Bhanoo’s characters live and breathe like real people, their paths branching off the page and twining into your heart. “—Chicago Review of Books, A Best Book of the Month

“Bhanoo’s command of language is meditative and deeply human . . . Seeking Fortune Elsewhere may be ingrained in a sense of diaspora and displacement. But one can’t help but feel that in her brilliant writing, Bhanoo has found her place.” —Valerie Wu, Asia Pacific Arts

“Given Bhanoo’s eye for setting and detail, the stories are uniformly compelling . . . Full of empathy and emotional truth.” —Dr. Rajesh C. Oza, Khabar

“Luminous and piercing . . . Bhanoo’s prose is delicate, spare, and radiant with emotion . . . How to live with what’s missing is a question Bhanoo poses to each of her characters, and she lets them stumble toward their answers with tenderness and affection . . . Seeking Fortune Elsewhere is a companion in healing, a book that surfaces our longing and vulnerability. The stories in Bhanoo’s collection articulate a vision of sorrow, regret, and reconciliation, one which asks us to share space with and welcome them in our lives.”—Melody S. Gee, Commonweal

“Bhanoo captures both the tenacity and tender humanity of her protagonists.” —Supriya Saxena, Zyzzyva

“These haunting, intimate stories center women and their complicated paths of hope and regret as they discover the costs of leaving or staying.” —Patricia Thang, Book Riot

“Throughout each story, Sindya adds layers of nuance, so each story has subtleties that are’t immediately apparent until a second or third read. Most of all, Sindya’s skill in creating compelling plots does justice to the characters within them, often showing the importance of compassion . . . In Seeking Fortunate Elsewhere, you can sit down with these individuals, knowing that even if they are fiction, there is someone out there just like them.” —Shelf Unbound

“Exquisite . . . Bhanoo’s piercing stories further augment the growing shelves of spectacular first short story collections by women of color.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Stunning . . . Bhanoo transforms human drama into mystery. Graceful stories by a writer with enormous empathy for even the most flawed and forlorn among us.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Stunning . . . Bhanoo finds novel ways for her protagonists to cope with adversity . . . This introduces a great new talent.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere is a rare and breathtaking achievement, a collection of stories so original, so richly imagined and powerfully rendered, that it seems timeless. Each story is a multi-faceted jewel, refracting love and loss, casting a new and profound light on the shadows of the human heart. With her boundless talent, fierce intellect, and abiding curiosity about the souls of her characters, Sindya Bhanoo arrives as one of the most important writers of her generation.” —Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This

“This achingly beautiful collection charts the emotional journeys and complicated ties of those who choose to leave and those who are left behind. You will ache for the women at the center of these powerful stories. You will cry for their losses and celebrate their tiny victories. Bhanoo’s stories affirm humanity as only good literature can achieve. A magnificent debut of a writer you will read for years to come.” —Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept

“I am still in the grip of this gorgeous collection. How thrilling to see women I know in these pages, tender and fierce, yearning for freedom yet plagued by the past. Each character has carved a precise space in my mind. Every one of these stories glows with truth.” —Tania James, author of The Tusk That Did the Damage

“What a beautiful book Seeking Fortune Elsewhere is—stories about home, love, heartache, and betrayal, about the moral complexity of human love in all its varieties. Sindya Bhanoo describes her characters with an astonishing mixture of mercy and mercilessness, which is to say they live and breathe and will break your heart and stun you. Indeed, the whole book is stunning, and the good news is it’s only her first.” —Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Souvenir Museum

“With wise, honest precision and compassionate grace, Sindya Bhanoo masterfully locates the tender sources of human longing. Seeking Fortune Elsewhere is a stunning collection by an extraordinary talent.” —Jill McCorkle, author of Hieroglyphics