From acclaimed and beloved author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni comes a new collection of moving stories about family, culture, and the seduction of memory. With the rich prose and keen insight that made Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart national bestsellers, these tales of journeys and returns, of error, of loss and recovery, all resound with her unique understanding of the human spirit.
"Don't we all have to pay, no matter what we choose?" a young woman asks in "The Love of a Good Man," one of the unforgettable stories in Chitra Divakaruni's beautifully crafted exploration of the tensions between new lives and old. In tales set in India and the United States, she illuminates the transformations of personal landscapes, real and imagined, brought about by the choices men and women make at every stage of their lives.
"The Love of a Good Man" tells of an Indian woman happily settled in the United States who must confront the past when her long-estranged father begs to meet his only grandson. In the acclaimed "Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter", a widow, inadvertently eavesdropping, discovers that her cherished, old-fashioned ways are an embarrassment to her daughter-in-law. A young American woman joins a pilgrimage of women in Kashmir and, in the land of her ancestors, comes to view herself and her family in a new light in "The Lives of Strangers." Two women, uprooted from their native land by violence and deception, find unexpected comfort and hope in each other in "The Blooming Season for Cacti." And in the title story, a young woman turns to her painting and the wisdom of her grandmother for the strength to accept her fiance's past when it arrives on her doorstep.
Whether writing about the adjustments of immigrants to a foreign land or the accommodations families make to the disruptive differences between generations, Divakaruni poignantly portrays the eternal struggle to find a balance between the pull of home and the allure of change.
The Unknown Errors of Our Lives
Ruchira is packing when she discovers the notebook in a dusty alcove of her apartment. It is sandwiched between a high school group photo in which she smiles tensely at the camera, her hair hacked short around her ears in a style that was popular that year, and a box of brittle letters, the sheets tinged with blue and smelling faintly of sweet betel nut, from her grandmother, who is now dead. For a moment she fingers the book's limp purple cover, its squished spiral binding, and wonders what's inside, it's been that long since she wrote in it. Then she remembers. Of course! It's her book of errors, from her midteens, a time she thinks back on now as her Earnest Period.
She imagines telling Biren about it. "I was a gawky girl with a mouth full of braces and a head full of ideas for self-improvement."
"And then?" he would ask.
"Then I turned twenty-six, and decided I was perfect just the way I was."
In response, Biren would ...
Evocative tales which explore the gulf between the beliefs and traditions of India and those of modern America, mostly seen from the viewpoint of the Indian mother's whose children have made America their homeland. Across the nine stories, written in her usual sensuous and lyrical style, Divakaruni explores the emotional dislocation of the 'time machine called immigration'.
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"Astonishing. . . . A rich and varied spectacle, full of wisdom and laughter and the touches of the unexpectedly familiar through which literature illuminates life." - The Wall Street Journal.
This gorgeous first novel is the deeply moving story of one woman, Nazneen, born in a Bangladeshi village and transported to London at age eighteen to enter into an arranged marriage.
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