Oleander Girl: Book summary and reviews of Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Oleander Girl
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2013,
    304 pages.

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Book Summary

Beloved by critics and readers, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has been hailed by Junot Díaz as a "brilliant storyteller" and by People magazine as a "skilled cartographer of the heart." Now, Divakaruni returns with her most gripping novel yet.

Orphaned at birth, seventeen-year-old Korobi Roy has enjoyed a sheltered childhood with her adoring grandparents. But she is troubled by the silence that surrounds her parents' death and clings fiercely to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found in her mother's book of poetry. Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents', and it seems her wish has come true when she meets the charming Rajat, the only son of a high-profile family.

But shortly after their engagement, a heart attack kills Korobi's grandfather, revealing serious financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi's past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents' betrayal, Korobi undertakes a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity. Her dramatic, often startling journey will, ultimately, thrust her into the most difficult decision of her life.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. From baneful secrets, poisonous misunderstandings and conflicts, and transcendent love, Divakaruni has forged another tender, wise, and resonant page-turner." - Booklist "Starred Review. Exploring the United States and India in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Divakaruni has crafted a beautiful, complex story in which caste, class, religion, and race are significant factors informing people's world views." - Library Journal

"Divakaruni is not at her best here, and has given us a read best suited for the beach or conversion into a daytime television show." - Publishers Weekly

"Like an Indian Maeve Binchy, Divakaruni offers an entertaining if lightweight comfort read." - Kirkus

"Oleander Girl is elegant and classic, but also vivid and immediate. Love and loss and secrets collide in this powerful story of the way we live now. There is poetry on these pages, but also the burning-on-both-ends urgency of a page turner. Gorgeous and exciting, this is a wonderful novel." - Tayari Jones bestselling author of The Silver Sparrow

"When you think of thrilling page turners, you don't usually think of fluid, graceful prose. But that's what you'll find in Oleander Girl...Chitra Divakaruni is such an elegant writer, one who makes the reader feel not only engaged and entertained, but a bit elevated, too. I've been a fan of Divakaruni's work for a long time; this book keeps me one." - Elizabeth Berg New York Times bestselling author of Tapestry of Fortunes

"Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's new novel, Oleander Girl, is...a showcase for the best-selling author's ability to maintain her signature, beautifully-crafted prose while creating a complex set of deceptions, ruses, and lies, exposing the dark side of human nature....Skillfully crafted, the novel is a bouquet of collisions that illustrate how choices we make affect more than just ourselves. The past and present clash, as do secrets and truths, needs and wants, old and new India, East and West, wise and unwise decisions. Subplots span two continents and families, and double back on themselves." - India Currents

"A many-faceted story of discovery...Oleander Girl is part mystery, part search, but mostly the story of a young girl finding herself and deciding where she belongs." - Seattle Times

Oleander Girl will keep you captivated from the very first chapter....The twists and turns to the story will make you want to read it in one sitting. Beautifully written. As an author, Divakaruni is in a league of her own." - UrbanAsian.com

"Oleander Girl is a coming of age novel in the best tradition....Divakaruni's gift is story telling, and she is generous with her gift. Through her wonderful novel we become active participants... and grateful witnesses to the maturing of a child into a woman." - The Huffington Post

Her tale is so well-plotted that few will guess the secrets at the heart of this page-turner." - The Dallas News

"Divakaruni uses her considerable storytelling skills to full advantage in her new novel." - The Oregonian

"Divakaruni explores issues of class and politics in modern India and immigrant America, but the family issues at the heart of the novel give it a cross-cultural appeal. Told with empathy and intelligence, and accompanied by intrigue, the stories--and issues--of the Roy and Bose families should appeal to a broad range of readers." - Shelf Awareness

The information about Oleander Girl shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Author Biography

© Anand Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 13 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese.

She was born in India and lived there until 1976, at which point she left Calcutta and came to the United States. She continued her education in the field of English by receiving a Master’s degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

To earn money for her education, she held many odd jobs, including babysitting, selling merchandise in an Indian boutique, slicing bread in...

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