Need Patel grew up in Illinois, and currently lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in The Indiana Review, The Southampton Review, Hyphen Magazine, The American Literary Review, and others. He is writing his first novel, AS FAR AS HE WILL TAKE YOU.
IF YOU SEE ME, DON'T SAY HI (JULY 2018)
IF YOU SEE ME, DON'T SAY HI is Neel Patel's debut collection—ten stories in the vein of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kumail Nanjiani about love, family, and being brown in contemporary America. The stories examine the collisions of old world and new world, small town and big city, traditional beliefs (like arranged marriage) and modern rituals (like Facebook stalking). They are big-hearted, provocative, twisty, and wryly funny. Neel writes about the striving of immigrants and lovers, and there's a sharp trio of stories about women who aren't pleasant or agreeable the way society expects them to be.
“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 (Little Fires Everywhere)
"A joy to read, reminiscent of Jhumpa Lahiri and David Ebershoff. As much as these remarkable stories have Indian-American characters at the center, they are simply human, tenderly told. Without moralizing or sentimentality, Patel writes about forgiveness and compassion, and the freedom to be flawed. What exquisite writing. What a tremendous talent."
- Imbolo Mbue (Behold The Dreamers)
“The 11 seemingly casual and quietly feverish stories in Patel’s debut follow the plight of young first- or second-generation Indian-Americans. Some characters are gay and some straight, but most of them have grown up in suburban Midwest towns where they are viewed as vaguely exotic as, in an effort to find love, they struggle to please or break away from their families...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 lifechanging fractures. This is a perceptive, moving collection.”
- Publishers Weekly
"At the core of Patel's stories is a sense of loss, more powerful for its quiet restraint....Patel's deep sense of empathy—and infuriatingly relatable characters—shines throughout. A melancholic pleasure with a sense of humor."
- Kirkus Reviews (Starred)