Storyteller and globe-trotter, Monica Bhide is an award-winning author, literary coach, and educator whose specialty is crossing boundaries — chronological, geographical, religious, and economical — to take her readers on a journey of magical realism.
Her latest book, “The Soul Catcher,” releases on September 1, and is a fascinating and captivating tale of magical realism, exploring fate, faith, loss and love.
It is a story about Yamini Goins, a woman who has the ability to capture someone’s dying soul and keep it alive. The woman is faced with a dilemma, when she sees her betrayed lover who desperately needs her help. Will she helped him or not? The story is told in 12 parts, put together like a mosaic puzzle, compelling you to read all the stories to discover what happened in the beginning.
“It’s a very different type of challenge. It’s a different way of telling the story, and the magic of Yamini is a story of all that makes us human,” says Bhide. The desire to live, the fear of death, the longing for love, and the release that comes with the acceptance of fate, are all interwoven in this story.”
Bhide is no stranger to the magical realism genre. She is best known for her debut work, “Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken,” which explores the healing power of food.
That book tells the story of a young man named Ishaan from a poor family who loses his mother to preventable starvation. Ishaan’s goal is to feed the world. So he decides to start a little eatery called Karma Kitchen, where people can eat for free. Ishaan serves delectable meals to people but he’s actually aiming for a higher purpose, which is to solve world hunger. What sounds like a great idea turns into a challenge when Ishaan realizes that he needs to fund it, and things take a turn. How does an orphan who has no money, no background, no education, no family, create something for himself? The book is a hero’s journey about a young man who wants to change the world.
The novel, which combines cookbook and storytelling, received rave reviews. The book led to NPR’s Café in Washington, D.C., to serve up creations inspired by Bhide’s protagonist chef.
“I think the most frequently used word to describe me was a dreamer. I was always dreaming up things, dreaming up scenarios, dreaming up stories, trying different recipes playing around with spices. I mean, that was always my home, it was very much at home in the kitchen.”Monica Bhide
Bhide has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Town & Country, among others, focusing on culture-driven articles that approach the world food first. Her books, all infused with a signature lyricism, consist of acclaimed cooking compendiums, like 2009’s “Modern Spice,” brimming with contemporary versions of traditional Indian recipes. Her debut short story collection, “The Devil in Us,” a clutch of spellbinding tales centered on fate and fortune, earned a spot on Amazon’s bestseller list in 2015, while her more recent novel,
Born in New Delhi, raised in the Middle East, and now residing outside Washington, D.C., Monica Bhide serves as a corporate storyteller for one of the world’s leading professional services companies. Her prolific portfolio, enriched by the many places she calls home, channels a distinctly cosmopolitan worldview.
When she first put “Soul Catcher” together, everyone who knew her as a novelist and food writer, expected a book focused on food combined with fiction and mysticism.
“And I’m like, there we go. There’s the box again. Nope, not doing it,” says Bhide. “I’m going to tell the story I want to tell. We’ll see if it fails. I learned something. If it succeeds, I will learn something, you know what I mean?”
“Soul Catcher” will be a breakout surprise, says Bhide. The book releases on September 1 and can be found on Amazon.