A stirring novel of three women, two continents, and a perilous journey from the old world to the new - weaves together fascinating stories of the sisters' ancestors, their childhood memories, and dramatic scenes from India's history.
From one of our most respected writers of fiction comes a stirring novel of three women, two continents, and a perilous journey from the old world to the new.
At the heart of this remarkable new novel by the award-winning author of The Middleman and Other Stories and Jasmine are issues of culture, identity, and familial loyalty. Comparable to The Joy Luck Club in its honest portrayal of the American immigrant experience, Desirable Daughters follows the diverging paths taken by three Calcutta-born sisters as they come of age in a changing world.
Tara, Padma, and Parvati were born into a wealthy Brahmin family presided over by their doting father and his traditionalist mother. Intelligent and artistic, the girls are nevertheless constrained by a society with little regard for women. Their subsequent rebellion will lead them in different directions, to different continents, and through different circumstances that strain yet ultimately strengthen their relationship.
Moving effortlessly between generations, Mukherjee weaves together fascinating stories of the sisters' ancestors, their childhood memories, and dramatic scenes from India's history.
In the mind's eye, a one-way procession of flickering oil lamps sways along the muddy shanko between rice paddies and flooded ponds, and finally disappears into a distant wall of impenetrable jungle. Banks of fog rise from warmer waters, mingle with smoke from the cooking fires, and press in a dense sooty collar, a permeable gray wall that parts, then seals, igniting a winter chorus of retching coughs and loud spitting. Tuberculosis is everywhere. The air, the water, the soil are septic. Thirty-five years is a long life. Smog obscures the moon and dims the man-made light to faintness deeper than the stars'. In such darkness perspective disappears. It is a two-dimensional world impossible to penetrate. But for the intimacy of shared discomfort, it is difficult even to estimate the space separating each traveler.
The narrow, raised trail stretches ten miles from Mishtigunj town to the jungle's edge. In a palanquin borne by four servants sit a rich man...
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