Arranged Marriage

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Editor
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Editor Doubleday Books $22 (307p) ISBN 978-0-385-47558-7
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
In this collection of emotionally fraught short stories, poet Divakaruni (Black Candle) relates the travails of Indian women trying to adapt to the often alienating culture of middle-class America. Her mostly young characters-students or brides-are negotiating the schism between Indian values and new possibilities here. In ``Clothes,'' Mita moves from a tiny Indian village to be with her husband, who runs a 7-Eleven in California; after he is murdered in a holdup, Mita questions her naive vision of America. In ``The Word Love,'' an Indian graduate student living in Berkeley with a man named Rex agonizes over whether and how to tell her mother back in India about the relationship. The narrator of ``Affair'' suspects her husband of sleeping with a close friend, realizing eventually that, whether or not her suspicions are correct, her marriage to an old-fashioned, judgmental and bossy man is troubled. Particularly poignant is ``Meeting Mrinal,'' in which Asha, recently deserted by her husband and coping with an adolescent son, lies to a childhood friend, now a successful, independent businesswoman, insisting that her life is fine. In transparently simple language, Divakaruni places her characters at the volatile confluence of two conflicting pressures: the obligation to please traditional husbands and families, and the desire to live modern, independent lives. First serial to Good Housekeeping. (July)
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