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.
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).
The Washington Post - Leslie Pietrzyk
Divakaruni's use of a plot that relies on coincidence and happenstance
creates a similar problem. Mrs. Gupta says, A dream is a telegram from the
hidden world. Here dreams are filled with portent and daily lives are
laden with hidden meaning. And what's a coincidence? Rakhi notes;
And what is an accident? asks her mother. Perhaps each detail of
existence is taut with significance. One could almost be persuaded by the book's
final, transcendent moments, when Rakhi finds the perfect web of connection that
interpreters of dreams seek. Yet for all that beauty and hope, the ultimate
frustration of Queen of Dreams is that its connections have come too
conveniently packages, unexplained strangers, journals with answers, as if life
were but a dream.
Deirdre Donahue - USA Today
Queen of Dreams, Divakaruni's 11th book, includes elements of magic, intuition
and folklore drawn from India. But the story of the conflicted, discontented
single mother is a darker, contemporary tale that will resonate with anyone who
has struggled with modern love, mores and parenthood.
Divakaruni does a
good job working current issues into the novel and avoids synthetic
characterization, creating a free-flowing story that will captivate readers.
Protagonist Rakhi is no queen (actually, she's a divorced artist mom). But she
is struggling to understand her deceased mother's dream journals. Meanwhile, her
own dreams are floundering as she and her Indian friends are attacked as
terrorists after 9/11.
Richly textured and
artfully told through the varied perspectives of believable characters.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Writing, as always, with wit and lyricism,
Divakaruni masterfully illuminates the tangible and the numinous, the abruptly
changing present and the deep past in a page-turner lush with emotional,
cultural, and spiritual insights.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
As with all her books, Divakaruni has written this book in a style that's worth reading. The imagery and subtle symbolisms are striking. The topic is not a very realistic one, but the book is strewn with truths to which every human can relate.... Read More
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
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...