04 September, 2020

Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - [Book Review]

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Book Details:

Title: Arranged Marriage

Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Publisher: Anchor; First Paperback Edition (May 1, 1996)

Print Length: 307 pages

Source: An e-copy from library


Although Chitra Divakaruni's poetry has won praise and awards for many years, it is her "luminous, exquisitely crafted prose" (Ms.) that is quickly making her one of the brightest rising stars in the changing face of American literature. Arranged Marriage, her first collection of stories, spent five weeks on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list and garnered critical acclaim that would have been extraordinary for even a more established author. For the young girls and women brought to life in these stories, the possibility of change, of starting anew, is both as terrifying and filled with promise as the ocean that separates them from their homes in India. From the story of a young bride whose fairy-tale vision of California is shattered when her husband is murdered and she must face the future on her own, to a proud middle-aged divorced woman determined to succeed in San Francisco, Divakaruni's award-winning poetry fuses here with prose for the first time to create eleven devastating portraits of women on the verge of an unforgettable transformation.

Purchase Link: 

My Review:

 I have read Chitra Banerjee's novels earlier and I am a fan of her stories. So, I searched for her books and found this kindle copy from our local library. 

Like Chitra's other novels, these stories also cover Indian immigrants in the USA. Being an Indian staying in the USA,  it is easy for me to relate to these stories. All are related to the woman's problems and immigrant lives.

I love that most of the stories are real or nearer to real life. I like the narrative but in some stories, I felt the transition between scenes is not smooth but abrupt and confusing. I like the details in the stories like environment, weather, culture, and the way the author portrays the feelings of characters. 

Most of the stories are heart touching and will stay in your mind even after finishing the book and make you think of characters. A few I didn't like, maybe I expected more depth in those characters.

This line tells a lot about Arranged marriages in India.

Wasn’t it every woman’s destiny, as Mother was always telling me, to leave the known for the unknown?

Clothes is one of my favorite stories. It shows the dreams of a young bride moving to a new country with her husband. The climax is heartbreaking,  but that's how life is.

A perfect life is a tribute to a mother's love. It's very touching and sure will stay in my heart for a long time. 
The maid servant's story is heart-wrenching and I cannot explain in words the impact the story had on me for days. It is so sad that a few women had to bear problems throughout their life. 

The Disappearance is not my favorite story but a good one. It's surprising that a few men consider abuse as common in households and don't treat it as a problem. 

Doors - I loved this! A simple story but a gripping narrative. The climax makes you feel the impact of simple habits on one's married life.

Meeting Mrinal is about 2 women meeting after a long time while realizing that no one's life is perfect and perfection is only a mirage. Great message.

My Rating : 4/5

I recommend this book to immigrants, especially women, and also to someone who loves to read real stories.

Until next time,

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