Teenage Neil Narayan, like many of his peers, faces the expectations of his parents who emigrated from India to the States for a better future for their children. He not only has to meet the expectations at school, but also live according to the rules of the Indian diaspora. Success seems to be a measure of human value for the emigrants.
Neil’s neighbor and first love, Anita Dayal, is a girl with big ambitions. The teenage girl excels in every field, but she has a secret. Her mother uses Indian alchemical knowledge to support her daughter. She melts the stolen gold into a drink which is meant to transfer the ambitions and hopes of the jewelry owners to Anita. When Neil accidentally discovers this secret, he too begins to use alchemy. However, stealing someone else’s ambitions is playing with fire, and the actions of the characters lead to a tragedy that not only affects their lives, but also separates them for years.
Ten years later, their paths cross again. Neil is a promising history student who researches the gold rush in California. Anita has just given up her career in IT, and her mother needs support which only the gold drink can give her…
Gold Diggers is s debut novel of Sanjena Sathian. An American writer of Indian descent asks questions about belonging and the identity of the second generation emigrants, struggling with the expectations imposed by society. Using the convention of magical realism, she creates a story about growing up and life choices.