Considering that they were drafted 30 years apart, I thought these two novels would have nothing in common.
Boy, was I wrong.
Here are ten overlaps.
- American Midwest. Southern Indiana for Cassia. The Great Plains or somewhere similar for Jaya and Joshua.
- Asian spiritual practice. Tibetan Buddhism for Cassia’s father. Hindu-influenced yoga for Jaya.
- Relationship and family focus. Five generations for Cassia, including her close cousins known as the Squad. Three same-age couples for Jaya, plus her in-laws and landlords out west.
- Livelihood. Family-owned restaurant and real estate for Cassia’s clan. Nonprofit public services for Jaya.
- Women in business. Cassia’s whole family, from her great-grandmothers down to herself. Jaya in nonprofits management.
- Career uncertainty. Cassia’s cousins have difficult decisions to make about whether to stay with the family business or find other livelihoods. Three of the spouses in Nearly Canaan struggle in their search for suitable employment, while the other three are caught up in their professions.
- Far West. As a young adult, Cassia works with clients across the western half of America, while Jaya and Joshua eventually relocate to the Pacific Northwest.
- Death and loss. They’re central to both books.
- Food. Cassia has all of that Greek heritage. Jaya and Joshua move to a land of orchards and fresh seafood.
- Restaurants. Cassia’s family owns a landmark café. Jaya is introduced to Joshua where he’s a flippant waiter.
Any of this appeal to you?