THE GREAT INDIAN FAMILY: NEW ROLES, OLD RESPONSIBILITIES by Gitanjali Prasad. Penguin Books. January 2006. Hardcover. 335 pages. $28.95.

In The Great Indian Family: New Roles, Old Responsibilities, journalist Gitanjali Prasad examines the evolving concept of family amongst middle-class Indians. Prasad tackles a range of issues, from the joint family to the question of remaining single. She also devotes multiple chapters to considering the role of women in the Indian family, whether the women in question are full-time homemakers or working outside the home. A section on working fathers considers the equally important but often overlooked topic of how men are able to negotiate their work-home balance. The questions posed are pointed, with universal applicability: “How have the attitudes of young people changed with regard to sex, marriage and the family?”; “Do in-laws have to be out-laws?”; “Will the home continue to nourish and nurture future generations?”

Prasad has written on the subject of the family for over 20 years, and did research on the subject as Press Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University in 1999 and later in a study supported by the Dorabji Tata Trust in 2002. She has been a freelance writer and columnist for several major newspapers and magazines, and for seven years she was bureau chief, eastern region, of Magna Publishing Company.

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...