The Vine of Desire

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9780349115849: The Vine of Desire

THE VINE OF DESIRE is the story of Anju and Sudha, two young women far from Calcutta, the city of their childhood, and who after a year of living separate lives are rekindling their friendship in America. The deep-seated love they feel for each other provides the support each of them needs. It gives Anju the strength to pick up the pieces of her life after a miscarriage, and Sudha the confidence to make a life for herself and her baby daughter, Dayita - without her husband. The unlikely relationships they form with men and women in the world outside the immigrant Indian community as well as their families in India profoundly transform them, forcing them to question the central assumptions of their lives, especially when they must confront the deeply passionate feelings that Anju's husband has for Sudha. THE VINE OF DESIRE is a novel of extraordinary depth and sensitivity. Through the eyes of people caught in the clash of cultures, Divakaruni reveals the rewards and the perils of breaking free from the past and the complicated, often contradictory emotions that shape the passage to independence.

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Review:

The Vine of Desire is peopled by Indian immigrants and--just as palpably--by their hopes and dreams. As one character says, "All immigrants are dreamers, but they're practical about it. They know what's OK to dream about, and what isn't." Though it's a sequel to Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's Sister of My Heart, the novel stands alone as an exploration of the contemporary immigrant experience. Anju and Sudha, cousins and best friends since their Calcutta girlhood, find themselves in the Bay Area, Anju with a husband and Sudha with a baby daughter. Each covets what the other has until finally their relationship collapses. Anju finds solace among her fellow Berkeley students, while the beautiful Sudha learns, for the first time, what it's like to pay her own way. Digressive and overwritten, The Vine of Desire can try your patience, but it's so well plotted and compassionately told that you can't help but care about these immigrant dreams. --Claire Dederer

From the Back Cover:

“An engrossing and satisfying novel.” – The Washington Post

“Divakaruni is gifted with dramatic inventiveness [and] lyric, sensual language. . . . The Vine of Desire offers many delights.” – Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Divakaruni is an incomparable storyteller. . . . the beauty of her talent is her ability to capture the true complexity of the emotional landscape in her characters. . . . A lovely read.” – The Denver Post

“Incandescent. . . . Abounds with vibrant images.” – Houston Chronicle

“Grab The Vine of Desire . Divakaruni is a transplanted cultural treasure [and] a brilliant storyteller.” – The Seattle Times

“As gracefully structured as a piece of chamber music.” – San José Mercury News

“Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni fills a space all her own. . . . Her fiction draws a line straight to the heart.” – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Divakaruni. . . . paints worlds of complex characters and cultures with an absorbing story line and beautiful language that reads like poetry.” – The Oregonian

“Compassionate. . . . Provid[es] with graceful economy a complex backdrop of contemporary Indian society.” – The Boston Sunday Globe

“Dazzling and powerful. . . . Divakaruni’s descriptions, as always, possess a fine lyrical beauty. . . . Readers . . . will have much to feast on.” – The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Moving, passionate. . . . A beautiful, imperfect journey, much like life itself, and one well worth taking.” – Austin American-Statesman

“[An] exquisitely rendered tale of passion, jealousy, and redemption. . . . Divakaruni combines a gift for absorbing narrative with the artistry of a painter.” – Publishers Weekly

“A potent, emotional book delivered by a writer who knows when to step back and take in the poetry.” – Book

“Compelling. . . . Divakaruni writes prose that is lush. . . . [She] excels at depicting the nuances of the immigrant experience.” – SF Weekly

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