“Neel Patel’s debut short story collection is filled with tales of imperfection and longing, of unfulfilled wishes that fight hard against expectations. His flawed characters know what they risk when their actions don’t match the standard script of perfection they’ve been handed, but their need for love and acceptance always prevails, sometimes with heartbreaking results. Patel’s empathy toward his characters is palpable, as is the effect of his gorgeously rendered sentences. If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi is a wonderful read: necessary, aching, and alive.”Mo Daviau, Powell's Books
"If You See Me, Don't Say Hi bristles with unexpected meetings and reunions, recognitions and failed recognitions, passions and estrangements of all kinds. These stories have a sharp eye for the complexities of modern life, but Neel Patel writes with the wisdom and compassion of an old soul." — Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere
This program is read by the author.
In eleven sharp, surprising stories, Neel Patel gives voice to our most deeply held stereotypes and then slowly undermines them. His characters, almost all of who are first-generation Indian Americans, subvert our expectations that they will sit quietly by. We meet two brothers caught in an elaborate web of envy and loathing; a young gay man who becomes involved with an older man whose secret he could never guess; three women who almost gleefully throw off the pleasant agreeability society asks of them; and, in the final pair of linked stories, a young couple struggling against the devastating force of community gossip.
If You See Me, Don't Say Hi examines the collisions of old world and new world, small town and big city, traditional beliefs (like arranged marriage) and modern rituals (like Facebook stalking). Ranging across the country, Patel’s stories -- empathetic, provocative, twisting, and wryly funny -- introduce a bold new literary voice, one that feels more timely than ever.
More praise for If You See Me, Don't Say Hi:
"In stories that are moving, thoughtful, entertaining, and discomfiting all at once, Neel Patel upends what we think the experience of Indians in America looks like. It’s about time." — Rumaan Alam, author of Rich and Pretty
"Patel has a knack for depicting the gap between how characters experience their lives and how they are expected to be seen—and how those gaps can widen into life changing fractures. This is a perceptive, moving collection." — Publishers Weekly