Pallavi Sharma Dixit’s Debut Novel ‘Edison’ celebrated by  Edison Township

Launch event for the book, Edison, June 18, 2024. Author Pallavi Sharma Dixit, 2nd from left, with Mayor of Edison, Sam Joshi, 2nd from right. PHOTO: ITV Gold

On Tuesday, June 18 Pallavi Sharma-Dixit celebrated the launch of her debut novel ‘Edison’ at the Edison at Barnes Noble at Menlo Park Mall. The event was attended by a large group of enthusiastic readers, local dignitaries including Mayor Sam Joshi and media.

Published by Third State Books, the book is like a Bollywood film. ‘Edison’ tells a full- fledged love story, complete with a mean father, a villain, action, comedy, love triangle, and cameos of real life Bollywood actors.

The book has been described by writer Chitra Divakaruni as ‘a  charming, often hilarious novel brimming over with life, laughter, and dreams worthy of the most outrageous Bollywood movies.”

Pallavi Sharma Dixit with Edison Mayor Sam Joshi. PHOTO: ITV Gold

Edison Mayor Sam Joshi described the novel as an ‘authentic portrayal of the Township’s diversity’. Speaking at the event jointly organized by Mayor Joshi’s office, Edison Township Public Libraries, Publishers Third State Books and the Chamber of Commerce. Joshi said Sharma-Dixit’s book fulfilled his endeavor to have a town that young people can recall with pride as full of many pleasant memories.

Pallavi Sharma Dixit, author of ‘Edison’ speaking at ITV Gold studio during an interview. PHOTO: ITV Gold

Joshi said he was thrilled when he heard about the book being written by an Edison resident about Edison. “This is exactly what a community is all about; thinking about your community in a way where you are also inspiring others and you are reflecting on your own community,” Joshi said.

Describing ‘Edison’ as ‘one of the first large scale books to be written about Edison Township’, Joshi said, “We, in Edison, hope that our youth remember everything when you have an opportunity to do so,” Joshi said the whole township was very proud of Sharma-Dixit.

Thanking everyone, Sharma-Dixit said she felt very honored by the support she got from ‘this amazing Edison community’.

Recounting her writing endeavor, Sharma-Dixit said she always knew that she wanted to write a book about Edison, a place she knew and saw change. She recalled how there was only one Indian grocery store which was called ‘the Indian store’. The place changed rapidly and is now considered ‘little India’ with many Indian stores and restaurants and businesses.

“I really wanted to highlight how this place changed,” Dixit said. “This is just in a ordinary suburb and it became this spectacular place and I wanted to tell the story of that,” Dixit said.

She said the book turned into a Bollywood love story while she was planning it. Admitting to the presence of stereotypes, she said, “But I don’t think of them as stereotypes. I think of them as a celebration of what Bollywood or the Hindi film industry is”.

‘Edison’ traces the history of Bollywood. To Sharma-Dixit, Bollywood is not just all song and dance. It is a mix of many things which come together to  create a feeling in people to want more. “You feel the joy of life. And I think that is what connects it to people,” she said.

Bollywood, thus, was a natural choice to write about Edison, according to Sharma-Dixit. “Edison is a joyous place, and houses the Indian community with their very real hardships and struggles”, she said. She said she wanted to write about the joys of the community, the song and dance and the weddings. “I just wanted to celebrate a little, she said.

The title ‘Edison’ points to both Thomas Edison who makes an appearance in her book and the Indian community in Edison. The Edison Memorial Tower which has been renovated, also features in two pivotal scenes in the book, Sharma-Dixit said.

Sharma-Dixit said the book talks of Thomas Edison’s work ethic, of his quote about perspiration versus inspiration. She said her protagonist struggles with motivation in life, and wonders how to achieve his goals, It is there that she brings in Thomas Edison, she added.

If the title of the book confuses some, the cover of the book makes sure readers would know it is about the Edison Indian community by just looking at it. Sharma-Dixit said the title is written in Hindi script, and the picture gives away the idea about the Indian community.

Sharma-Dixit grew up in Edison. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and lives in Minneapolis with her husband, two children and dog ‘tiffin’.



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