Sister of My Heart

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Author
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Author Doubleday Books $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-48950-8
Ebook - 223 pages - 978-0-307-47679-1
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-385-48951-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-986-6807-53-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-5601-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-0601-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-3601-6
Hardcover - 347 pages - 978-0-552-99767-6
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4090-1013-5
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Like the old tales of India that are filled with emotional filigree and flowery prose, Divakaruni's (The Mistress of Spices) latest work is a masterful allegory of unfulfilled desire and sacrificial love. It is also an intricate modern drama in which generations and castes struggle over old and new mores. Anju and Sudha are cousins, born in the same household in Calcutta on the same day--which is also the day on which their mothers learn that both their husbands have been killed in a reckless quest for a cave full of rubies. Sudha grows up believing her father was a no-good schemer who brought ruin on his cousin, Anju's upper-class father. As they mature, Anju dreams of college, Sudha of children, but arranged marriages divide and thwart them. Anju adjusts to life in California with a man who lusts after Sudha; Sudha grapples with a mother-in-law who turns to the goddess Shasti to fill Sudha's barren womb rather than to a doctor for her sterile son. Ultimately, the tie between Anju and Sudha supersedes all other love, as each sustains painful loss to save the other. When Sudha learns the truth about her father and no longer needs to right his wrongs, she sees that all along her affection for Anju has not been dictated by necessity. An inspired and imaginative raconteur, Divakaruni is sure to engender comparisons with Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things), but Divakaruni's novel stands in its own right as a compelling read. If her prose sometimes veers toward the purple, her mesmerizing narrative sustains it well. Agent, Sandra Dijkstra; author tour. (Jan.)
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