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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Review - Arranged Marriage - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Books by this author have recently got a fair amount of reviews on various book blogging sites. They were all favourable and this is what made me pick up this particular book.

It is a collection of short stories - the main theme being an Indian female either already in the United States having been born or bred there, or a recent immigrant coming over to the States after marriage and the adaptation of oneself to not just the institution of marriage but to a life which may seem alien (at least for a while) The collection of stories is very realistic, absolutely down to earth and gives one an insight of what someone from a totally different culture would face in a country like America.

Trying to reconcile two cultures, two ways of life and also to make it work in an environment deprived of an extended family which is sometimes supportive and sometimes not so supportive (the difficult mother in law is someone who is understood as part of the package of marriage, hence acceptable!) is tough. There are differences in attitude, in the nuance of language, in saying something and actually meaning something else!!!! so reminiscent of what the East is really like. The importance of saving face, of family honor, of respect for elders (however difficult they may be)and in one story female infanticide which is a common enough fact in this part of the world all combine to bring about an ecletic mix of stories which will appeal to anyone from any part of the world. The stories deal with human emotions and feelings beautifully expressed so that one feels sad, happy, mixed up, joyful and uplifted in turn as the stories twist and turn. This is a book that you would want to finish all in one go as you do not want to keep it hanging on for another day.

This book was a find for me from a second hand bookshop in Colombo. Having read reviews of her other books only very, very recently the availability of this book was a pleasant surprise.

7 comments:

Diane said...

This one sounds good to me. After reading this author's latest book: One Amazing Thing, I would like to read more of her work! Great review.

Mystica said...

Diane - I got your email re not being able to comment on the new post I presume. Would you try again just to see whether this box is working pls. Thank you.

Diane said...

This one works fine, but for some reason your newest post will not allow me to leave a comment?

Eva said...

I've only read one of Divakaruni's other books, but this one definitely sounds worth it!

chasingbawa said...

I haven't read any books by her, but I think I found a copy of this book at home (probably my sister's), so I'll be reading it next year! I recently read Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies which I really enjoyed.

Jani~ said...

Mysti, I really want to read this book, you've sold me on it. Also, we really need to catch up again and continue our book-chats.

S. Krishna said...

This is my first time visiting your blog, but I already know I'm putting it into my Google Reader! You have read some great books lately.

I've reviewed a couple of Divakaruni's book this year, but I don't think I knew about this one. I'll have to check it out!