Hello everyone! Hope you are doing well. Today I want to share with you all some thoughts about the latest book I have been reading – Sister of my Heart – by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.
I discovered Divakaruni when I was looking for authors like Jhumpa Lahiri. Before I came to Bangalore in October, 2015, I bought her Palace of Illusions. I meant to read it in the long train journey that I was to undertake. But life had different things in store for me in that train journey (just a few hours before I were to board the train, my maternal grandfather passed away, and I pretty my cried during the entire duration of my first inter-state train journey).
After I reached Bangalore and found Kwench, I had access to a lot of books. Somehow, Palace of Illusions shifted to a corner in my wardrobe. A few days ago I gave it to my roommate for reading.
This March, they featured Divakaruni for Women’s Day Special books in Kwench. Almost all her books are available there.
This Thursday, after I returned Game of Thrones (less than half-read, but my borrow period was over), I ordered Sister of My Heart. Apparently, Divakaruni is a popular author in Kwench. Almost all her books except two were in circulation when I ordered this book. It arrived Thursday at lunch. I started reading it right away.
The story is about a traditional Brahmin Bengali family living in Kolkata. It captures the story of two cousin sisters, Anju and Sudha, who love each other very much. One is headstrong, practical while the other makes wishes upon the fallen stars and believes in prince and princess fairy-tale stories. The book touches on variety of issues: the ideals of proper upbringing in a high-class Bengali family, which is not longer as wealthy as it once was; the tremors of young love, the dowry system, stigma against female girl child, some mystery, some fairy-tale storytelling and above all, how love surpasses all.
The leading characters are women and are complexly constructed. Nalini, Sudha’s mother is a typical gossiping woman, who frets and complains about everything in life. Yet, when the author explains the past that led Nalini to be wed and be part of the Chatterjee family, we cannot but feel a little sorry and sympathy for the poor woman. Gouri Ma, Anju’s mother, who had promised her husband when he went on an adventure that would be the end of him, that she would bring up her daughter as a girl from Chatterjee family must be brought up, kept her promise by manning a bookstore single-handedly, breaking social stigma of women not being the sole breadwinner in the family. Then there is Pishima, who first tells Sudha the dreaded secret of her existence – a secret that is to cast a shadow on all the characters’ lives forever since it has been uttered.
I loved how each character is different and has a different story to tell. I love the way the story develops, said through the alternating, contrasting points of view of Anju and Sudha. I love how strong the emotions are portrayed, that moved me to tears more than once.
I loved the book so much that I stayed up till 5.00 AM in the morning today to finish it. I can’t remember any other book that I finished in less than 24 hours in the recent past.
If you have a liking towards Jhumpa Lahiri’s books, you must definitely give Divakaruni a try. I can assure you you’ll love it!
On a different note, my ebook, Bound by Life is available for free now on Amazon. If you have a Kindle, don’t forget to download it.
Also, if possible do share about the free promotion on your blog/social media platforms. I aim to sell at least 100 free copies of the book between today and coming Tuesday. I’d love if you can help me achieve my goal!