In her most spellbinding novel yet, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni spins a fresh,
enchanting story of transformation that is as lyrical as it is dramatic.
Rakhi, a young artist and divorced mother living in Berkeley, California, is struggling to keep her footing with her family and with a world in alarming transition. Her mother is a dream teller, born with the ability to share and interpret the dreams of others, to foresee and guide them through their fates. This gift of vision fascinates Rakhi but also isolates her from her mother's past in India and the dream world she inhabits, and she longs for something to bring them closer. Caught beneath the burden of her own painful secret, Rakhi's solace comes in the discovery, after her mother's death, of her dream journals, which begin to open the long-closed door to her past.
As Rakhi attempts to divine her identity, knowing little of India but drawn inexorably into a sometimes painful history she is only just discovering, her life is shaken by new horrors. In the wake of September 11, she and her friends must deal with dark new complexities about their acculturation. Haunted by nightmares beyond her imagination, she nevertheless finds unexpected blessings: the possibility of new love and understanding for her family.
"A dream is a telegram from the hidden world," Rakhi's mother writes in her journals. In lush and elegant prose, Divakaruni has crafted a vivid and enduring dream, one that reveals hidden truths about the world we live in, and from which readers will be reluctant to wake.
FROM THE DREAM JOURNALS
Last night the snake came to me.
I was surprised, though little surprises me nowadays.
He was more beautiful than I remembered. His plated green skin shone like rainwater on banana plants in the garden plot we used to tend behind the dream caves. But maybe as I grow older I begin to see beauty where I never expected it before.
I said, It's been a while, friend. But I don't blame you for that. Not anymore.
To show he bore me no ill will either, he widened his eyes. It was like a flash of sun on a sliver of mirror glass.
The last time he'd appeared was a time of great change in my life, a time first of possibility, then of darkness. He had not returned after that, though I'd cried and called on him until I had no voice left.
Why did he come now, when I was finally at peace with my losses, the bargains I'd made? When I'd opened my fists and let the things I longed for slip from them?
His body glowed with light. A clear,...
Divakaruni often focuses on the balance between two worlds - most often the world of Indian immigrants struggling to assimilate themselves into American life. While not moving away from this entirely, in Queen of Dreams she takes a somewhat different tack in order to explore the gulf between a mother able to interpret dreams and a daughter attempting to understand her.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (362 words).
Divakaruni is the author of at least 12 books, including novels, short stories, poetry and two novels for children. Her work has also been published in about 30 anthologies. In addition to Queen of Dreams, you can browse Sister of My Heart (1999), The Unknown Errors of Our Lives (Short stories: 2001), Vine of Desire (2002), and The Conch Bearer (children) at BookBrowse.
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