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.
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"Her literary voice is a sensual bridge between worlds. India and America. Children and parents. Men and women. Passion and pragmatism."-- USA Today
"Mrs. Divakaruni's stories are as irresistible as the impulse that leads her characters to surface into maturity, raising their heads above floods of silver ignorance."-- New York Times Book Review
"Divakaruni's prose is so pungent that it stains the page, yet beneath the sighs and smells of this brand of magic realism she deftly introduces her true theme: how an ability to accommodate desire enlivens not only the individual heart but a society cornered by change."-- The New Yorker
Chitra Divakaruni is the author of the bestselling novels Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart; the story collection Arranged Marriage, which received several awards, including the American Book Award; and four collections of prize-winning poetry. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms., Best American Short Stories 1999, and other publications. Born in India, she lives in the San Francisco area.
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