Desirable Daughters: A Novel

Bharati Mukherjee

Published by Hyperion, 2002
ISBN 10: 0786865989 / ISBN 13: 9780786865987
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Synopsis: 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.

Review: Desirable Daughters, by the prolific writer Bharati Mukherjee, whose short story collection The Middleman won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award, is a masterful meditation on marriage and family ties. It begins on a fantastic note: on a winter night in an east Bengali village in 1879, the narrator's ancestor, 5-year-old Tara Lata, is married to a tree after her 13-year-old husband-to-be dies of a snakebite on their wedding day. The novel ends some 120 years later, when Tara, the 36-year-old narrator, returns to this same village in winter with her teenaged son. Like her ancestor, Tara Bhattacharjee is the youngest of three sisters of a Brahmin family. Although they grew up in Calcutta, Tara and the oldest sister now live in America while the middle sister lives in Bombay. Tara was married (in an arranged marriage) at age 19 to Bish Chatterjee, a genius who makes a fortune from a cutting-edge computer process. He and Tara are estranged when the novel opens, but when a stranger claiming kinship shows up at the house that Tara shares in San Francisco with her son and her boyfriend, she reconsiders her assumptions about her entire family. In the course of the novel, a sister's secret and a murder are uncovered, and a near-fatal bombing occurs. Mukherjee's Desirable Daughters is yet another of her magically written, compelling novels. --Susan Biskeborn

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Desirable Daughters: A Novel
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication Date: 2002
Book Condition: Good
Edition: 1st ed.

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Bharati Mukherjee
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