24 April, 2018

Before we visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - [Book Review]

Book Details:
Title: Before we visit the Goddess
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Genre: Fiction
Length of the book : 225 pages
Source : A copy picked from the local library

Book Review, Chitra Banerjee
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A beautiful, powerful new novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of Sister of My Heart and The Mistress of Spices about three generations of mothers and daughters who must discover their greatest source of strength in one another—a masterful, brilliant tale of a family both united and torn apart by ambition and love.

The daughter of a poor baker in rural Bengal, India, Sabitri yearns to get an education, but her family’s situation means college is an impossible dream. Then an influential woman from Kolkata takes Sabitri under her wing, but her generosity soon proves dangerous after the girl makes a single, unforgivable misstep. Years later, Sabitri’s own daughter, Bela, haunted by her mother’s choices, flees abroad with her political refugee lover—but the America she finds is vastly different from the country she’d imagined. As the marriage crumbles and Bela is forced to forge her own path, she unwittingly imprints her own child, Tara, with indelible lessons about freedom, heartbreak, and loyalty that will take a lifetime to unravel.

In her latest novel, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni explores the complex relationships between mothers and daughters, and the different kinds of love that bind us across generations. Before We Visit the Goddess captures the gorgeous complexity of these multi-generational and transcontinental bonds, sweeping across the twentieth century from the countryside of Bengal, India, to the streets of Houston, Texas—an extraordinary journey told through a sparkling symphony of voices.

Purchase Link: Amazon

My Review :
Many of my blogger friends mentioned about the books of Chitra Banerjee earlier but I couldn't get time to read any of her books so far. Fortunately, this book is available at our local library. 

While reading the book, I just had one emotion - Wow! The book covers three generation of women and their lives in just 225 pages in a very detailed manner. Sabitri steals our heart as an ambitious person standing against all odds to start and run Durga Sweets and make it famous in Kolkata. Even though Bela is not very ambitious, her interests are different. She enjoys her dance performance on stage and takes her dance dress to the US even when she has to leave the house in a hurry for Sanjay. Tara is this generation girl who loves her freedom and is ignorant of her mother's love until she is married and settled. Bela comes out of her fears and does interviews, food shows on TV and even becomes an author of international cookbooks. Tara comes to know the importance of education after meeting with an accident in an unexpected way. At last all 3 characters are connected at the end dramatically. 

Chitra is a master storyteller for sure as she mesmerized me with the words and the layers of her characters. I wanted to know more about the characters and cannot put down the book without finishing it. The narration is so smooth and detailed that it didn't give me any inconvenience when the timeline moved from present to past and vice versa multiple times. The author could bring out the originality of each character by also highlighting their weaknesses and negative points. The story itself is natural and relatable, unlike fiction. 

I know, I am so impressed with the writing style, story, and characterization that I will read her other books soon. I recommend this to all readers who love good relatable stories. 

My Rating: 5/5

About the Author:
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her themes include the Indian experience, contemporary America, women, immigration, history, myth, and the joys and challenges of living in a multicultural world. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 29 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Hindi and Japanese. Divakaruni also writes for children and young adults.Her novels One Amazing Thing, Oleander Girl, Sister of My Heart and Palace of Illusions are currently in the process of being made into movies.

Chitra currently teaches in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program at the Univ. of Houston. She serves on the Advisory board of Maitri in the San Francisco Bay Area and Daya in Houston. Both these are organizations that help South Asian or South Asian American women who find themselves in abusive or domestic violence situations. She is also closely involved with Pratham, an organization that helps educate children (especially those living in urban slums) in India.

Until next time,


  1. Sounds like a beautiful book!

  2. Five on five? Wow. I've never read any of her books either. I'd love to try one of them. Always liked stories that are relatable.

    1. Ya you should definitely try reading Chitra's books Dashy.

  3. Oh wow! I am already adding this book to my wishlist. The dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship is very interesting to read from
    a third person perspective and this story of women from 3 generations would be interesting, specially to see Bela be a daughter and then a mom herself. Nice review :-)

    1. Thanks Ashwini. The concept of mother daughter relationship covering 3 generations is really interesting for me to read.


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