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1. One Amazing Thing
2. Leaving Yuba City: Poems
3. Arranged Marriage: Stories
4. The Vine of Desire: A Novel
5. The Mistress of Spices: A Novel
6. Queen of Dreams
7. Shadowland: Book III of the Brotherhood
8. Sister of My Heart: A Novel
9. The Palace of Illusions: A Novel
10. The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming:
11. The Unknown Errors of Our Lives:
12. Die Huterin Der Gewurze (German
13. Matrimonio arreglado
14. Reason for Nasturiums
15. Anand und das Geheimnis des Silbertals.
16. Die Prinzessin im Schlangenpalast.
17. Bengalische Sterne.
18. Wer die Sehnsucht kennt
19. Ma soeur, mon amour.
20. The Mistress of Spices.

1. One Amazing Thing
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2010-02-02)
list price: US$23.99 -- used & new: US$8.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003YDXD5E
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"Divakaruni is a brilliant storyteller; she illuminates the world with her artistry; and shakes the reader with her love."
--Junot Diaz

Late afternoon sun sneaks through the windows of a passport and visa office in an unnamed American city. Most customers and even most office workers have come and gone, but nine people remain. A punky teenager with an unexpected gift. An upper-class Caucasian couple whose relationship is disintegrating. A young Muslim-American man struggling with the fallout of 9/11. A graduate student haunted by a question about love. An African-American ex-soldier searching for redemption. A Chinese grandmother with a secret past. And two visa office workers on the verge of an adulterous affair.

When an earthquake rips through the afternoon lull, trapping these nine characters together, their focus first jolts to their collective struggle to survive. There's little food. The office begins to flood. Then, at a moment when the psychological and emotional stress seems nearly too much for them to bear, the young graduate student suggests that each tell a personal tale, "one amazing thing" from their lives, which they have never told anyone before. And as their surprising stories of romance, marriage, family, political upheaval, and self-discovery unfold against the urgency of their life-or-death circumstances, the novel proves the transcendent power of stories and the meaningfulness of human expression itself. From Chitra Divakaruni, author of such finely wrought, bestselling novels as Sister of My Heart, The Palace of Illusions, and The Mistress of Spices, comes her most compelling and transporting story to date. One Amazing Thing is a passionate creation about survival--and about the reasons to survive.

Praise for One Amazing Thing

"The plot of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's new novel could be ripped from the horrifying headlines about Haiti in a strange case of art imitating life. ...One Amazing Thing, which was written well before the Haiti earthquake, is receiving high praise."
--USA Today

"The appeal of these life stories, like that of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, is that they throw the spotlight onto varied lives, each with its own joys and miseries. Together, the stories show how easy it is to divert young lives into unforeseen and restrictive channels, and how hard it is for people to realize their early dreams. Their shared experiences and fears form the frame that holds together this compendium of short stories into an absorbing novel. ...At the end of her novel, her readers are fully engaged in what will happen to those nine people."
--Washington Post

"Hauntingly beautiful. ...One Amazing Thing is a page-turner with high drama, elegant writing, and lots of helpful tips for teamwork in a crisis."
--Houston Chronicle

"Her fiction is so intimate that it often seems as if cultural context is irrelevant. Her character's dreams and disappointments are paramount... The karmic energy of One Amazing Thing revolves around Divakaruni's gifts as a novelist."
--Seattle Times

"Masterful storyteller Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni examines such stories in an apropos novel for our times. Her suspenseful tale of nine souls who suddenly don't know if they will live or die is a tribute -- on many levels -- to hope and survival. But it is also, most successfully, a ringing rebuke to rushes to judgment. It's an adult, literary version of The Breakfast Club, with dire circumstances. 'Hell is other people,' Uma thinks as she looks at one of her fellow distraught victims. But redemption can be other people, too, Uma and the others soon understand. One more amazing thing we've learned from Divakaruni."
--Miami Herald

"Divakaruni portrays in beautiful prose, haunting characters, and a luminously and ominously developed plot, the universal and individual qualities of the search for meaning in life, as well as the search's timelessness. We see the parallel as soon as Uma does: as in The Canterbury Tales, where Chaucer's characters are pilgrims to a holy site, the visa applicants are also pilgrims, on their way to India. Divakaruni is a beautiful writer, using words as lithely and effortlessly as breathing, and while she breathes, she sings."
--Huffington Post

"One Amazing Thing collapses the walls dividing characters and cultures; what endures is a chorus of voices in one single room."
--Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake

"I was up very late. I read straight through because this is the sort of book that pulls you along. Divakaruni is so adept with her characterizations...I wanted to be in any of the beauty salons described so lovingly. I wanted to eat the bits of food described with such delicacy."
--Louise Erdrich, author of Love Medicine and A Plague of Doves, from her blog at birchbarkbooks.com

"Ingeniously conceived and intelligently written, this novel is a fable for our time. The characters, troubled or shattered by their past, vibrate with life whenever they begin to speak. The book is a fun read from the first page to the last."
--Ha Jin, author of A Free Life and the National Book Award-winning Waiting

"Chitra Divakaruni understands the power of stories to heal us, make us laugh, and comfort us in the most difficult of circumstances. One Amazing Thing is one powerful and beautifully written book. I loved it, and I'm sure that readers everywhere will embrace it too."
--Lisa See, author of Shanghai Girls

Praise for Chitra Divakaruni

"[Her] sentences dazzle; the images she creates are masterful."
--The Los Angeles Times

"Divakaruni beautifully blends the chills of reality with the rich imaginings of fairy tale."
--The Wall Street Journal

"Authentic and complex . . . Sophisticated and compassionate . . . Moving . . . [It is] a vision of what it means to be human, and in that resonance lies this collection's triumph."
--The Washington Post

"Divakaruni's stories will touch everyone who reads them . . . It is her gift of language and her ability to cast sentences of exquisite beauty that make her such a high-performance writer."
--USA Today

... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

4-0 out of 5 stars Nine lives; nine stories on amazing thing

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni became one of favorite Indian authors' after I read her last book - 'Palace of Illusions.' That was one beautifully written book for which I wrote a good review earlier on Amazon.
And this is the reason I picked up Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's next book that was released sometime back.

'One Amazing Thing' is a story about nine people who are trapped in the Indian Consulate somewhere in the US, after an earthquake. Nine different people, a heterogenous group, while they are waiting to be rescued, tell a story from their lives. This story must be around an amazing thing that happened to them in their lives. Be it Cameron, an African American Vietnam vet; or college student Uma; an elderly white couple Mrs. & Mr. Pritchett; an American Muslim man Tariq; Jiang & her grandmother; or clerk Malathi & her boss Mr. Mangalam. The tales are from each persons' heart and amazing & important for them. Each person realizes, through this difficult time of being trapped in a building after an earthquake, that life is a miracle.

Rating 3.75/5

4-0 out of 5 stars The One Amazing Thing
I read the other reviews before I decided to purchase/read this and so I wasn't as let down by the ending as some others were.I enjoyed this book so much that I purchased another copy to send to my Mother to read.She doesn't typically read anything outside her "safety net" of American writers writing about things that are fairly safe and mundane so I was uncertain how she would take this one, she loved it as well.I've read all of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's books and believe she is gifted with the ability to really let the readers into the hearts and minds of her characters.Was this the best book I've ever read...no, was it a book I'll remember for the rest of my life, YES.
A good read and it is true, everyone has at least "One Amazing Thing"!

4-0 out of 5 stars What is the One Amazing thing?
I found this book a little slow to begin with.But as it progressed and each character started to tell their One Amazing Thing, I became very interested in the book and couldn't put it down.However, the ending was rather abrupt and left me wanting more of the story.I also found it hard to keep track of some of the characters in the book...I felt there were too many to keep the story interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Moving Testament to the Power of Story
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's new novel, ONE AMAZING THING, has been getting a lot of publicity lately. Unfortunately, it's the kind of publicity that an author would rarely court, even if it results in high-profile interviews, glossy profiles and an uptick in book sales. The recent Haitian earthquake, which has increased global attention on this poor and, in many ways, isolated country, has also brought increased attention to Divakaruni's book, which is set in the immediate wake of a devastating earthquake.

As people watch on television scenes of desperation and unlikely rescues in Haiti, they may have a tendency to imagine what life is like following such a harrowing natural disaster, particularly for those desperate individuals trapped below acres of rubble, waiting for a rescue that might never arrive in time. ONE AMAZING THING is, on the simplest level, this kind of imagining fleshed out into a powerful novel, one that will resonate with everyone who has witnessed this recent earthquake.

Of course, ONE AMAZING THING is far more than a simple survival story. It is the culmination of many of the author's long-standing themes, as well as a contemporary fable about the walls that separate all of us --- and about the powerful connections that can be discovered when those walls come crashing down.

The novel begins innocuously enough: a young woman, Uma, sits in the waiting room of the Indian passport office in an American city that sounds very much like San Francisco. She is impatient and entertains herself by observing the other people in the waiting room, each of whom must have his or her own reason for intending to visit India. "It was like a mini UN summit in here," thinks Uma. And that's when the earthquake strikes.

When the dust settles, there are injuries large and small, and people's true natures come to the surface as they often do in desperate situations. One man, Cameron, an African American war veteran, takes immediate charge, but his brusque, take-charge manner rubs some of the other strangers the wrong way, particularly the young Muslim Tariq, who some view with suspicion. Tariq has his own reasons for being suspicious and defensive, but, as with the other members of the assorted company, his full story remains a mystery until, in the wake of a violent outburst triggered by fear and near-panic, Uma has a brainstorm.

She has been reading Chaucer's THE CANTERBURY TALES, in which an assorted band of pilgrims tell each other tales --- bawdy, insightful, entertaining --- to pass the time and form connections. Why not do the same sort of thing, both to stave off despair and to find common ground? "Everyone has a story," Uma tells the group. "I don't believe anyone can go through life without encountering at least one amazing thing." And so the survivors, in turn, tell each other their "one amazing thing" and discover much about each other --- and themselves --- in the process.

ONE AMAZING THING is the kind of novel that will stick in readers' heads for a long time. Whether because it changes their perception and understanding of contemporary India and of minority groups in our own country, or because it inspires introspection --- encouraging people to identify that "one amazing thing" in their own lives --- Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's latest effort is a moving testament to the power of story.

4-0 out of 5 stars A reminder to cherish the amazing things in your life
I loved the way this book takes nine individual lives and intermixes them flawlessly. In a tragedy such as the earthquake these characters suffer through, it is hard to remember the good things for which life is worth living. Although there is a fair amount of sadness, unfulfilled desires and lost love in this novel, it left me with apositive afterglow. Highly recommended. ... Read more

2. Leaving Yuba City: Poems
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 114 Pages (1997-07-14)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385488548
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The author's third book of poetry, parts of which have won a Pushcart Prize and an Allen Ginsberg Prize, explores images of India in art and culture and the Indian experience in America, including the author's own experiences. Original." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

India-born Chitra Divakaruni is one of my favorites. She holds a Ph.D. in Literature from UC Berkeley and teaches at Foothill College on the San Francisco Peninsula. She's won both Allen Ginsberg and Pushcart Prizes for poetry. This is my favorite of her works, a book of award winning poetry about the experience of Indians coming to the United States. Beautiful, powerful work illuminating a population I knew little about.

4-0 out of 5 stars Universal, Beautiful
While many of the stories she tells in her poems are clearly set in specific times and places -- a convent school in India run by Irish nuns; Yuba City, California in the years between 1900 and 1940, for example -- the themes of those stories resonate much beyond those locales.

Shining like beacons, the moments of joy or happiness in these poems relieve the otherwise unremitting sadness evoked by the painful lengths of abuse, suicide and death, and fear in so many of the poems. For example, the exhiliration of the 19-20 year old narrator escaping the family home for the big city lights of Las Vegas or Los Angeles, in the eponymous poem, is palpable. And although it's clear that she's not just a teenager escaping any home -- she's a teenager escaping a restrictive traditional home with a possible arranged marriage in her future -- the poem easily evoked the same sense of a caged animal smelling freedom in me, someone who never lived in that kind of household.

Beautifully written.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, haunting poems
I love Divakaruni's writing, and this collection of poetry is no exception.She paints an incredible tapestry with her words.At times the tapestry is painful to look at, but it is always compelling.

1-0 out of 5 stars Purveyor of the fictional exotic to the pseudo intellectuals
Ms. Divakaruni's output is likely to be forgotten in a short time -perhaps a few years. In the mean time, she masquerades as an interpreter of the east to the sort-of-educated white audience. Along with her fellow Bengali woman author, Bharati Mukherjee, this lady continues the insults of Sikhs, this time from Yuba City.Perhaps this attitudeis rooted in their upbringing in Calcutta, where Sikhs drove Taxi Cabs, buses, and trucks and (like another minority group in the US) were blessed with legendary equipment - in stark contrast to their own bengali men - who though so intellectual just did not have this physical dimension.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poems - mostly about Indian women - that tell little stories
This is the kind of collection that will turn poetry haters into poetry lovers (or at least poetry likers).Divakaruni tells moving little stories -- rather than addressing abstract ideas -- in these entertaining poems.My favorites were "Woman With Kite" and "The Makers of Chili Paste." Her poems are mostly about Indian women, though I found them universally moving ... Read more

3. Arranged Marriage: Stories
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 320 Pages (1996-05-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385483503
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

5-0 out of 5 stars Arranged Marriage: Stories
This is a great book, it really gives insight on this culture compared to American culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars STUNNING, BRUTAL POETRY
A group of short stories around the subject of arranged marriage. These stuners will leave you breathless. Sad, poignant, beautiful. Unforgettable. Haunting. I like this book as well as Divakaruni's poetry. Read this before Sister of my Heart. Divakaruni uses one of the short stories as the basis of Sister.

4-0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed it
Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni portrays the life of an Indian woman trying to live under Indian customs in America. The main theme that I noticed in this novel is the feeling of disappointment, from the falsified golden streets, to the so described marvelous 7-11. The book consists of several short stories mostly telling about life in America from an Indian women's perspective. It tells of the battle between strict moral customs in the face of the so called "lax" customs of western society. The novel contains some truly heartbreaking moments. The death of a husband during his night shift, the letting go of a child, and the misunderstanding of racial hatred make this novel one that you won't soon forget. I also enjoyed the writing style of Chitra. She uses foreshadowing and situational irony to the point that the book remains interesting even after several times reading through it. The stories manage to teach about the complexities of Indian culture not only on a ritual level but on a much deeper emotional level. I found myself feeling sorry for the women having to make these choices between family customs and American life. It has become one of my favorite pieces of literature to date. This novel tells of broken promises, mistreated customs, and an overall feeling of sadness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Insight on Indian Culture
This book was assigned reading for one of my college classes, but I must say that it was thoroughly enjoyable. The stories seem to get better and better as you read through the book. Arranged Marriage is thought-provoking and heart-touching.

5-0 out of 5 stars Arranged Marriage
A wonderful read. It prompted me to seek out other books Chitra Divakaruni has written. Although I enjoyed them all, this collection of short stories was the best. Very engaging characters told in a realistic manner---you feel you are connected to these people---I could not bear to put the book down until I had finished that particular story. Very enjoyable book! ... Read more

4. The Vine of Desire: A Novel
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 384 Pages (2003-02-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$2.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038549730X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The beloved characters of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s bestselling novel Sister of My Heart are reunited in this powerful narrative that challenges the emotional bond between two lifelong friends, as the husband of one becomes dangerously attracted to the other.
Anju and Sudha formed an astounding, almost psychic connection during their childhood in India. When Anju invites Sudha, a single mother in Calcutta, to come live with her and her husband, Sunil, in California, Sudha foolishly accepts, knowing full well that Sunil has long desired her. As Sunil’s attraction rises to the surface, the trio must struggle to make sense of the freedoms of America–and of the ties that bind them to India and to one another.Amazon.com Review
The Vine of Desire is peopled by Indian immigrants and--just aspalpably--by their hopes and dreams. As one character says, "All immigrantsare dreamers, but they're practical about it. They know what's OK to dreamabout, and what isn't." Though it's a sequel to Chitra BanerjeeDivakaruni's Sister of My Heart, the novel stands alone as anexploration of the contemporary immigrant experience. Anju and Sudha,cousins and best friends since their Calcutta girlhood, find themselves inthe Bay Area, Anju with a husband and Sudha with a baby daughter. Each covetswhat the other has until finally their relationship collapses. Anju findssolace among her fellow Berkeley students, while the beautiful Sudha learns,for the first time, what it's like to pay her own way. Digressive andoverwritten, The Vine of Desire can try your patience, but it's sowell plotted and compassionately told that you can't help but care about theseimmigrant dreams. --Claire Dederer ... Read more

Customer Reviews (49)

1-0 out of 5 stars Horrible!
I've read about four of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's books and I have to say this was not an engaging read. Sunil's obssession with Sudha and her beauty was inexplicable. He hardly knew her, he fell in love with her just because she was beautiful?! I can understand attraction, but love? Come on. The man had hardly any redeeming qualities like most of the author's Indian male characters so I couldn't understand why Sudha or Anju cared about him either. It read like a silly 3rd rate Bollywood drama begging to be taken seriously.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as I expected and hoped!
I really enjoyed Sister of My Heart and was excited to learn there was a sequel ... and I TRIED to like it, I really did but the only reason I kept plugging away was in hopes that it wouldimprove. The style of writing is MUCH different from the first book and no one is very likeable. Read her "Palace of Illusions" or Indu Sundresan's books instead ....

5-0 out of 5 stars great book
it was in excellent condition and i was proud enough to give it as a gift

2-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected....
This book was difficult to get through and I felt very disappointedafter reading it. Divakaruni's style of writing is good. She is quite descriptive but if felt she did a poor job with the story. I didn't care for any of the characters and still had too many questions after finishing the book. I also felt some parts of the book were drawn out too long.

1-0 out of 5 stars I wish I hadn't read it
Sister of My Heart is one of my all time favorite books--I love everything about that book and that is why I was so excited to discover the Divakaruni wrote a sequet to it. But after reading it I wish I had not. Yes, it was nice to have so many of the questions, left over from the first book, answered but this book ruined the characters for me.

My review of it has nothing against Divakaruni as a writer, she is extremely talented and gifted but I hate where the story ended up. I also hated that I no longer cared for the characters. Overall I found it to be just ordinary and almost forced.

As far as this book is concerned I would have liked to be left in the dark. ... Read more

5. The Mistress of Spices: A Novel
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 352 Pages (1998-02-17)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$5.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385482388
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Magical, tantalizing, and sensual, The Mistress of Spices is the story of Tilo, a young woman born in another time, in a faraway place, who is trained in the ancient art of spices and ordained as a mistress charged with special powers.Once fully initiated in a rite of fire, the now immortal Tilo--in the gnarled and arthritic body of an old woman--travels through time to Oakland, California, where she opens a shop from which she administers spices as curatives to her customers.An unexpected romance with a handsome stranger eventually forces her to choose between the supernatural life of an immortal and the vicissitudes of modern life.Spellbinding and hypnotizing, The Mistress of Spices is a tale of joy and sorrow and one special woman's magical powers.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, born in India, is an award-winning poet who teaches creative writing at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, where she also serves as president of MAITRI, a helpline for South Asian women.In 1995 her short story collection Arranged Marriage was awarded the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Prize for Fiction, the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award for Fiction, and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.Her fourth poetry collection, Leaving Yuba City, was published by Anchor in August 1997.

Amazon.com Review
On a mythic island of women "where on our skin, the warmrain fell like pomegranate seeds" powerful spices like cinnamon,turmeric, and fenugreek whisper their secrets to youngacolytes. Ordained after trial by fire, each new spice mistress issent to a far-off land to cure the life pains of all Indian seekers,while keeping a cool distance from the mortals. Only stubborn,passionate Tilo, disguised as an old woman merchant in present-dayOakland, California, fails to heed the vengeful spices'warnings. Fragrant with spice and sensuality, this winning tale rollsoff the tongue. Written in the soaring, poetic tradition of China Men and Haroun and the Sea ofStories. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (106)

5-0 out of 5 stars Adored This Book - Loved the Magic and Feminine Spirituality Themes
I absolutely adored this book - it was my favorite novel in quite awhile. Much has already been written in the other reviews about the luscious and whimsical writing, the beautiful and fun spice metaphors, and the insightful portrayal of Indian culture in America, including the immigrant experience. But I think it is also a lovely book on feminine spirituality and magic, in the vein of Mists of Avalon and others of that ilk. The main character is a celibate 'seer' woman - think Oracle of Delphi and other feminine divination icons of that type - and must choose between her calling as a seer/sorceress and a life as a 'real women'. It was this storyline that was personally the most interesting to me, and that I think would be for other readers interested in women's spirituality and feminine mystic icons.

5-0 out of 5 stars magical realism and cultural curry
Banerjee Divakaruni takes us on a journey to that magical place between fantasy and reality.This book reads like oral tradition--the story of a woman who is destined to have a certain kind of life and yet who creates her own destiny.The protagonist, Tilo, born in another time and place, winds up in Oakland dispensing spices and wisdom to her customers.Both fanciful and deep, this novel is thoughtful and beautifully written.If you enjoy novels like Chocolat, you should definitely give this one a try.

Please note: do not opt to see the movie instead of reading the book.As much as I love Aishwarya Rai, this film does not do the book justice.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but....
I enjoyed her magical story with deep roots in Indian culture. As a cook I realize how important the link to the idea of healing through herbs and spices is.I would love to be in one of the many kitchens she describes over the years with aromas that are ultra sensuous and intoxicating.Whenever my form boss (from India) heats up his leftovers at work we all take notice !But I found Raven to be too simplistic, one-dimensional, a pretty boy with no IQ and little to say, not that American women don't fall for this type all the time !! He is as shallow as she is deep, nonetheless I did enjoy the story overall, and the mythology. I just wish a woman with so much character like Chitra would instead end up more with a guy like me ! I suspect Raven eventually converts her to burgers and fries, three meals a day, an unfortunate outcome.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE MISTRESS OF SPICES
Divakaruni's words are as fragrant as her spices. While healing others, the heroine goes on extravagant journeys of mingled myth and reality,at once dreamlike and yet so specific and searing that the reader finds the magic of spices not only possible but entirely plausible. This book stuns with its beauty.

3-0 out of 5 stars spice girl
A beautiful narrative and use of language creates a magical world, but ultimately the book disappoints with its California New Agey ending and characters that you thought would end up in something more exotic than dreaming of living in the Oregon woods, like 60s hippies. ... Read more

6. Queen of Dreams
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Kindle Edition: 352 Pages (2007-12-18)
list price: US$15.00
Asin: B001334IYW
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
From the bestselling author of Sister of My Heart comes a spellbinding tale of mothers and daughters, love and cultural identity. Rakhi, a young painter and single mother, is struggling to come to terms with her relationship with ex-husband Sonny, a hip Bay Area DJ, and with her dream-teller mother, who has rarely spoken about her past or her native India. Rakhi has her hands full, juggling a creative dry spell, raising her daughter, and trying to save the Berkeley teahouse she and her best friend Belle own. But greater challenges are to come. When a national tragedy turns her world upside down and Rakhi needs her mother’s strength and wisdom more than ever, she loses her in a freak car accident. But uncovering her mother’s dream journals allows Rakhi to discover her mother’s long-kept secrets and sacrifices–and ultimately to confront her fears, forge a new relationship with her father, and revisit Sonny’s place in her heart.

From the Trade Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

3-0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to love this book....
I liked this book, but did not love it. At times, reading it was tedious; particularly the very long chapter that dealt with the mother's training as a dream interpreter. It took me over a month to read the book and it was good, but I expected great and it did not deliver.

3-0 out of 5 stars Why do I have to listen to her complain?
This book was full of beautiful potential, but the characters where completely without true richness. The main character was so whiney and and annoying. She complained about a childhood and parents that were typically flawed. The author gave a vague and rediculous episode that was suppose to fuel her deep hatred for an ex husband. 9/11 was just thrown in as if it had to be, bringing up much deeper and more exciting topics that the rest of the book then ending abruptly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Queen of Dreams by far the best I have read this year.
For some reason I discovered this book sitting in my bookshelf and have no idea when I purchased it and why. I read a book a week and was searching for something to read when I discovered this one. I had never heard or read anything by this author. My huge loss, for this is by far the best book I have read this year. Perhaps the best I have read in the past year as well.

While searching for some knowledge as to why her mother dies in an accident and trying to discover who she really was, Rakhi unwinds a tale that is so marvelous you cannot put this book down. Magic, mystery and wonder fill every page. Written at times like poetry, you are aware of this authors unbelievable talent with every page you read.

I will now read every other book she has written. Where are these great writers hidden ?Why are they known to someone like me who is an avid reader? We are forced into trusting the best sellers list and to read novels by mediocre writers to satisfy the demands of publisher who control the market as well as our minds.

This book is a gem and will make you hunger for more of this author.
Chitra Banergee Divakaruni........a toast to you and your talent. Please keep writing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Some Comments onComparative Study on Literature of Dream Interpreters
I come across the work of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni through a radio interview in April. Her reading excerpt on the Queen of Dreams was so charming that I checked out the title in the nearby local library. Unforunately, that radio program ceased to pose her audio interview on line.

Time is well-spent reading this title as the many reviews of the title cover comment on the effect 'spiritually therapeutic'. Her narrative prose in first person account is so poetic that even a tormented main character, a single mother who struggles to paint, a La Boheme artist, sounds like a saint. What strikes me as universally humane is how Chitra describes the 'redemptive' process, sexual frustration with her ex-husband, friendship with her girlfriend, Freudian connection with her son Jonas (yes, the Biblical character), ambiguous reconciliation with her gifted mother after she died in an accident, and with her father who lent a cooking hand to support her 'faltering adventure in coffee shop business'. The father figure is fairly clear-cut.

For those who are new-age seekers, the self-discovery of identity in the post-modern Berkeley era does not sacrifice the quest of authentic intellectual curiosity. Rather it affirms a woman's struggling for her independence while longing her interdependence with those who care for her. Only a protagonist (here a woman) can write such moving novel.

If you enjoy poetry for the namesake of beauty, try the journal passge on how one interpretes the modality of 'thorn'. How many ways can one assign meanings to the dream about 'thorn'? That depends on who has the dream and in what context.

The author maintains a website for her other works.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dream Time...
I loved reading this book, at first it was boring, but that only lasted a few pages, later I was so engrossed by it that I could not stay away from it. I felt drawn towards all of the characters, especially Rakhi. The only thing I didn't like was that it leaves you wanting more; some things are not resolved, or not explain too good. But all in all, is a wonderful and magical novel. ... Read more

7. Shadowland: Book III of the Brotherhood of the Conch
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2009-03-31)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$2.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596431539
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

The hero of the Brotherhood of the Conch series, now fifteen, is settling back into his life as an apprentice in the lush Silver Valley, nestled high in the Himalayas. There he continues to learn the secret arts of the Brotherhood. But suddenly his adopted home is reduced to a barren wasteland when his beloved conch, the valley’s source of magical energy, is stolen by an unknown force. Together with his friend Nisha, Anand embarks on what may be his most dangerous mission—traveling to the cold and forbidding world of Shadowland in his attempt to restore the conch to its rightful place, and his home to its original splendor. The third and final book in the series.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly enjoyable book
SHADOWLAND by Chitra Lekha Banerjee Divakaruni
Rating ****(4 stars)

I hadn't read the first two books in this trilogy, but having read the author's adult books, and being quite the fan, I was very eager to read SHADOWLAND, a fantasy book aimed at young adult readers.

In this third and final book of the Brotherhood of the Conch series, the hero Anand is now fifteen years old and is being apprenticed by the Brotherhood.Anand lives in the Himalayas, learning the art of magic. He is one of these gifted persons who is able to use magic to help others, and is being taught the many skills he would need to fulfill his purpose in life.

It is during a secret assignment that things go terribly wrong. He finds that the only other person left in his world is his best friend Nisha, who is just as confused as he is to find their world practically destroyed and devoid of life. Now, it is up to them to find out what has happened, and to restore order before it is too late. Being only apprentices, neither is sure they have the power to do anything to help, but there is nothing left for them to do but to seek out the answers. Thus, begins the greatest adventure of their lives!

Nisha and Anand travel through what was once their beloved homeland, totally destroyed and lifeless. Anand's first and most important task is to recover the beloved Conch, which has been stolen and taken away to be used by the peoples that now inhabit their land. With the Conch gone, there is no way Anand's homeland will recover from whatever cataclysmic disaster had befallen them.With the help of a magical mirror, Anand and Nisha journey to the center of this strange land called "Shadowland", and as they meet people along the way, they slowly find clues to what had happened, and how they could possibly bring back the world as they knew it.

I have one major complaint: This is the last of the series, and I feel that it is unfortunate that this series is not expected to continue!After reading SHADOWLAND, I may just pick up the first two books and catch up with Anand and find out what went before.I found that SHADOWLAND had imagination, was well-written, and I truly cared about what happened to Anand and Nisha.I have always been fascinated by what I call "alternative worlds", stories that take place in lands that are changed somewhat to give it a more fantasy feel.SHADOWLAND takes place in areas around the Himalayas and India, but it is changed so much in some ways that it is unrecognizable, yet at the same time, one may be reminded of India and the different classes that keep the poor and the rich apart. The scientists represented one faction of the population, with those living in the streets of Shadowland represented the outcasts.

Anand's world is filled with people who use magic to help others, and I think young readers especially are drawn to this type of story.Anand is still a young teenager in every way, but his world is filled with elements of magic, a favorite component in today's YA fantasy novel.I thoroughly enjoyed SHADOWLAND and will gladly read more Young Adult fiction by Ms Divakaruni.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Brotherhood of the Conch continues its journey
Shadowland is the third book in the ongoing Brotherhood of the Conch series begun with The Conch Bearer. If there is an overarching theme that unites the three tales it is that life is a journey of the soul seeking knowledge, both of oneself and of the world. That out of that knowledge wisdom sometimes flowers but that the price for wisdom is often terribly high; perhaps higher than the seeker should rightfully be forced to bear. And that sometimes these overburdened seekers are only children.

J. R. R. Tolkien in his magisterial essay on Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics discusses the nature of fantasy tales and the precious ingredients that suffuse the most successful ones. Above all, he insists that they must be real. The more magical the tale the more strongly tethered it must be to the heart and the simplest human hopes and wishes. In its golden simplicity of purpose the journey taken by young Anand, the hero of the Conch series, is the very essence of those human hopes.

Anand and his companion Nisha attempt to save the Silver Valley, his adopted home, where he is apprenticed learning the secret magical arts of the Brotherhood. Anand's beloved valley has become a wasteland with the theft of the conch: source of the valley's magical strength and a grail-like repository for the means of discovering our better selves. To accomplish this awesome task the two children must journey to Shadowland, a grim and forbidding place where perhaps all modern fears arise. In the coldly scientific world that Shadowland represents we find the antithesis of the human warmth that pervades the lush Silver Valley. Wherever humanity is absent the breeding ground for evil and cruelty inevitably flourishes.

The Brotherhood series contains many of the tropes of modern fantasy. What distinguishes it is the poverty and hardship the children must overcome before they can even begin their spiritual journey. They do not fly from comfort to undertake an arduous task but from the bare subsistence of life where all choices are stark and fraught with tragedy. Anand can succeed but only at great cost, one that would crush most children unused to seeing life through a lens of utmost realism. It is a poignant sense of life's fragility and an almost intuitive perception that the search for happiness is often futile that both children possess at their core. This gives these tales their resonance and deep humanity. That the children seek the treasure of acceptance and the inner illumination of knowledge and not the vagaries of wealth is another indication of their almost preternatural maturity. The reader can imagine what steep emotional price was paid for their unusual insight, even when the issue is not explicitly discussed. These are three-dimensional characters beautifully rendered by an author of subtle and gentle artistry.

We are all on a spiritual journey, a quest of obscure origin and nature. The finest writers never claim to offer answers. At best they can only provide the brightest illumination by which our many questions may be read. Divakaruni is one of a handful of writers whose imagination and humanity sanctions them to take on that prodigous task. Although these books are written for children, the nature of the journey so eloquently presented in these three novels is tethered to neither age nor time. Whatever your age you will be moved by this book and the series from which it springs. Most strongly recommended.

Mike Birman ... Read more

8. Sister of My Heart: A Novel
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 322 Pages (2000-01-18)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038548951X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From the award-winning author of Mistress of Spices, the bestselling novel about the extraordinary bond between two women, and the family secrets and romantic jealousies that threaten to tear them apart.

Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Her cousin Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite those differences, since the day on which the two girls were born, the same day their fathers died--mysteriously and violently--Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates as well as their hearts were merged.

But, when Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is shattered. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust. Urged into arranged marriages, Sudha and Anju's lives take opposite turns. Sudha becomes the dutiful daughter-in-law of a rigid small-town household. Anju goes to America with her new husband and learns to live her own life of secrets. When tragedy strikes each of them, however, they discover that despite distance and marriage, they have only each other to turn to.

Set in the two worlds of San Francisco and India, this exceptionally moving novel tells a story at once familiar and exotic, seducing readers from the first page with the lush prose we have come to expect from Divakaruni. Sister of My Heart is a novel destined to become as widely beloved as it is acclaimed.

Amazon.com Review
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni made an indelible impression on the literaryworld with her first novel, The Mistress of Spices, amagical tale of love and herbs. Sister of My Heart is less relianton enchantment but no less enchanting as it tells the tale of two cousinsborn on the same day, their premature births brought on by a mysteriousoccurrence that claims the lives of both their fathers. Sudha is beautiful,Anju is not; yet the girls love each other as sisters, the bond betweenthem so strong it seems nothing can break it. When both are pushed intoarranged marriages, however, each discovers a devastating secret thatchanges their relationship forever.

Sister of My Heart spans many years and zigzags between India andAmerica as the cousins first grow apart and then eventually reunite.Divakaruni invests this domestic drama with poetry as she traces herheroines' lives from infancy to motherhood, but it is Sudha and Anju whogive the story its backbone. Anju might speak for both when she says, "Inspite of all my insecurities, in spite of the oceans that'll be between ussoon and the men that are between us already, I can never stop lovingSudha. It's my habit, and it's my fate."Book lovers may well discoverthat reading Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is habit-forming as well. --Margaret Prior ... Read more

Customer Reviews (198)

4-0 out of 5 stars Touching and uplifting
I actually picked up this novel for a quarter at a yard sale and I can't believe my good luck!This is a story of love all around -- sisterly, romantic, and parental.The author seems to know how to perfectly capture each one.This is one classy novel.The plot continually surprised me and left me wanting to know more.I truly loved these characters.Best of all, it had a satisfying ending even though not every piece was wrapped up.You could put your own ending to it and still finish the story fulfilled.

Only gave it four stars because the story did seem to rely heavily on love at first sight to the nth degree.Sudha and Ashkok spent most of the novel madly and deeply in love even though they'd only spent maybe 10 minutes together.

2-0 out of 5 stars Even my notes don't help...
I find it impossible to get into this story. I have a problem with the chapters each presenting one of the girl's toughts and narration, in the first person. I have made biographical notes for each of the girls that I constantly refer to and yet I cannot follow. Maybe because I can't read it in one stretch. Each time I pick it up I have to start looking back to the events again. It is quite a different presentation of characters and it does not appeal to me. Five chapters have been enough for me.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sister of My Heart was beautiful
You thought you knew what was to happen and then it takes you down another path.You get frustrated and fall in love with the characters all at once.I had to read it for school and I thought it would be boring but it was a very pretty story and I'm glad I read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kindle
I hear that this is the most lovely book.I long to read it, but I am visually impaired and cannot read it without my Kindle.Please consider offering this title on Kindle so I may read it.

Thank you,

Therese Coutret

5-0 out of 5 stars High quality book
Sister of my Heart was like new and I was very pleased with the quality.The shipping was first rate also.I give you highest rating. ... Read more

9. The Palace of Illusions: A Novel
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Kindle Edition: 384 Pages (2009-02-06)
list price: US$14.95
Asin: B001RS8L6E
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Taking us back to a time that is half history, half myth and wholly magical, The Palace of Illusions gives new voice to Panchaali, the fire-born heroine of the Mahabharat, as she weaves a vibrant interpretation of an ancient tale. Married to five royal husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom, Panchaali aids their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war. But she cannot deny her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna—or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy—as she is caught up in the ever-manipulating hands of fate.

From the Trade Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful

In a time of rich spices, jeweled saris, and everyday magic - a time of curses, vengeance, and the power of the heart - a girl stumbles out of the flames that have already produced her twin brother, carrying with her the thread and promise of change.In Divakaruni's masterful hands the myth of Panchaali takes shape, and the reader leaves behind the contemporary world for a society that carries far too many parallels to our own.

On its own, the narrative is majestic, but it is Divakaruni's character development that truly brings The Palace of Illusions to life.Panchaali herself is capable of invoking a sea of emotional responses, and the power to invoke sympathy, hatred, admiration and condemnation within the space of 360 pages speaks volumes of her author's narrative capabilities.The inhabitants of The Palace of Illusions are far from two-dimensional characters moving through a storyline: they breathe through the pages and welcome the reader into their mysterious world.In short, the novel is simply magical.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved the epic told from Draupadi's perspective...
In simple words - the story is that of a great epic, the Mahabharata, which we all grew up listening to. The story in itself is complex and its characters even more complicated. Compared to another major Hindu epic - Ramayana, this one is too intricate with endless (almost) side stories of each character. The incarnations of God Vishnu in both the epics are also very dissimilar - Ram with his simple and truthful ways leads a much simpler life compared to Krishna who comes across as a very cryptic personality.

In this book, Chitra Banerjee has narrated the story of Mahabharata, from the eyes of one of the main characters of the story itself - Panchaali or Druapadi. The book starts with the story of birth of Panchaali and his brother Dhristadyumna through a yagna which was performed by their famous father - Dhrupad to take revenge from his one time bosom friend - Drona. Both these siblings knew right from the beginning that they have been brought in this world for a special purpose. In the course of time Dhraupadi comes to know through Vyasa himself, about the future that awaits her. How she will be instrumental in making history. While telling her so, he gives her advice to
- hold back your question
- hold back your laughter
- hold back your curse

when you desperately want to do these at some points in your life. But as she becomes part of destiny, how the same moments come and she does the same as has been destined already.

I appreciate the author's attempt to peep into the mind of Draupdi and narrate the incidents from her perspective. How slowly with time she comes to realise the essence of life - the freedom she feels towards the end in finding out that one was not as important as one had always assumed. She learns quite a few lessons that the great ups and downs in her life teach her. While undertaking her last journey, she remembers all the goodness of the dear ones in her life and how she had the chance to appreacite the goodness while she spent the time venting her dissatisfaction on them.

She dearly loved her "Palace of Illusions" but as she is taken by destiny through different times, she realises that actually all places are palaces of illusions and like every other home, the body is also a crumbling palace.

Throughout her life, she feels the presence of one of her closest confidant - Krishna with her, till her last moments on earth. He had always been there with her, sometimes in the forefront, sometimes just blended in the shadows of the life. But all through her experiences she does not miss noticing that even though Krishna takes care of her dearly, she does not get anything if she does not deserve it - like the Virat form that Krishna reveals to Arjun only and not to her even though with Vyasa's boon she chould see everything happening on the battlefield. This makes me think, the divine justice is so fair and no short cuts are possible.

A really engaging book and personally I liked the way it makes the readers also realise the common follies that we get entangled in while on this earth. A lot of material to ponder upon. Compliments to the author for such a well written product. I haven't read any of her other books but would love to read some soon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Psychologically Complex
Divakaruni has penned a fast-moving and engaging retelling of one of India's most beloved ancient texts: the Mahabharata. Probably the world's largest single literary work, the Mahabharata tells the story of the first recorded civil war in history: the struggle precipitated between two sets of cousins due to their conflict over who is to inherit the family's ancestral throne.

Most Western readers are familiar with this epic tale only marginally, through a tiny excerpt called the Bhagavad Gita, which contains the eternal teaching of the divine Krishna.

In her contemporary novel, Divakaruni recasts the entire story by telling it through the eyes of the central female character, Draupadi, whose humiliation and violation is one of the events motivating the epic's heroes to enter into war with their cousins.

Draupadi's "disrobing" has always been considered one of the most central scenes in the epic. In fact, many date the onset of our current age of corruption and decay (the Kali Yuga) to that very moment in time. In the critical edition, Draupadi's chastisement of her husbands, for their passivity and unwillingness to protect her, is given full voice: a fact that attests to the tradition's own ambivalence with regard to the traditional treatment of women at the hands of their husbands in general (echoed through the centuries in Draupadi's unanswered question: "Is a husband permitted to stake his wife in a gambling match"?)

By making Draupadi's the point of view through which we see the events unfold, however, Divakaruni adds a greater level of psychological complexity to our consideration of the epic events. In this version, we see Draupadi involved in an ongoing relationship with Krishna in which she is not only acknowledged for the suffering she endures, but also chastised for her selfishness, and encouraged to move beyond her adolescent goals and ambitions.

There is admirable character development, as Draupadi recognizes (too late, all too often) her mistakes and their great costs. So too, we are treated to a sort of Draupadi Gita, as we see the 18-day war through Draupadi's eyes, and she is forced to witness the carnage brought about through her lust for revenge.

Is it a break with tradition to tell the story in this way? To those who would be scandalized by Divakaruni's approach: it is well worth remembering that there are dozens of well-established regional versions of the Mahabharata, and even many more local traditions throughout India. In fact, as a cursory scan of even the critical edition would verify, we could say that the tradition *is* to come up with new ways of telling the old events, and new details with which to embellish the body of the story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful work of Speculative fiction
For the first time, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni writes about Indian mythology in Palace of Illusions rather than just characters influenced by it or stories inspired by mythology.

In the genre of speculative fiction, she retells the story of the Mahabharata from Draupadi's point of view. Draupadi plays an essential role in the epic. If not for her, perhaps the Pandavas might not have lusted for revenge against their cousins as much.

Divakaruni takes the commonly known episodes of Draupadi's life, starting with her "birth" from the fire with Drishtadyumna and the prophecy at her arrival, her swayamvar and subsequent marriage to five husbands, her laughter when Duryodhana accidently falls into a pool in her palace at Indraprastha, her being staked and lost in a game of dice and the attempt to disrobe her in front of Dritarashtra's entire court and the miracle by Krishna, Krishna's assistance at the time when Durvasa and his numerous sages arrive at the Pandava's residence during vanvas, Kechakas infatuation with her and his death at the hands of Bhima during their year of being incognito, the loss of her 5 sons in the war and her being the first to fall by the wayside when she and the Pandavas begin their trek towards the heavens.

With this framework, Divakaruni fills in the blanks. What did Draupadi think about being the "girl who will change history"? What was her relationship with her father, her brother, her mother-in-law, her 5 husbands?

The introduction of the character of her nurse - Dhai Ma - helps to bring in a lot of background and history, which are narrated as stories. Divakaruni's Draupadi is an immature, impatient feminist who is filled with anger and the desire for vengeance (against Drona on behalf of her father and then the Kauravas).

She paints Kunti as a controlling mother who did not want to let go of her hold over her sons hearts and the obedience she commanded from them. Kunti in "The Palace of Illusions" constantly tests Draupadi and chastises her often.

The feminist Draupadi bemoans her empowerment of being granted 5 husbands yet having to follow an arrangement which has rules made by men. - 1 year in turn with each husband while attempting to put the others out of her head completely. She says "instead of a boon which turns me into a virgin before I begin my year with the next husband, I would have much preferred to be given the boon of forgetfullness - being able to forget the time I spent with the other 4 while I am with my current husband".

While the Mahabharatha has many strong female characters, Kunti, Draupadi, Gandhari, Amba, Subhadra they do not have much of a voice. Divakaruni attempts to give that voice at least to Draupadi

This is a brilliant work of fiction and definitely worth a read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Romantic - Poetic - Enchanting
Palace of Illusions is the most accessible read of the Mahabharata told in the voice of a modern day Indian woman. It's not only filled with fantasy and folklore but also with the breadth and depth of emotion that only Chitra Banerjee can bring to a story. Cuppa chai in hand, you will be instantaneously transported to palatial India. ... Read more

10. The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming: Book II of the Brotherhood of the Conch
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2005-09-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$3.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001SARDGA
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Set in contemporary India as well as that of several hundred years in the past, The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming continues the adventures of Anand and his efforts to become a fully fledged member of The Brotherhood of the Conch. This time Anand's journey takes him back to Moghul times, as he encounters powerful sorcerers, spoiled princes, noble warriors and evil jinns. Divakaruni is a master storyteller, and once again she weaves a vibrant tapestry of action, suspense, and rare beauty. Fans of The Conch Bearer as well as readers new to her work will be entranced.
Amazon.com Review
The boy magician Anand, his sassy partner Nisha, and their beloved teacher Abhaydatta reunite for a new adventure in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's second installment of her folkloric Indian fantasy series, The Brotherhood of the Conch. Anand, having discovered his vocation as Keeper of the Conch, now lives in the Himalayan Silver Valley, where he is training to become a Healer in the Brotherhood. While practicing the art of far-seeing, Anand receives a vision of a terrified wise-woman, pleading for help. Devastated by Master Abhaydatta's decision to leave him behind while he goes to the woman's aid, Anand convinces the conch to create a magic portal that he and Nisha can use to suddenly appear by Abhaydatta's side. Unfortunately, during the metaphysical hurtle, Anand is separated from Nisha and the conch and thrown back in time to an ancient Indian kingdom, where an evil sorcerer is planning the downfall of the royal family. What hope does Anand have of defeating the sorcerer, locating his friends, and returning to his own time without the powerful conch? The answers may lie in the depths of the Mirror of Fire and Dreaming...

Divakaruni maintains the spare, poetic tone, exotic setting, and diverse cast of quirky characters that made The Conch Bearer so appealing to young fantasy readers. Evoking the magic and mystery of India and the Far East, this classic quest story will be enjoyed by middle grade fans ofShiva's Fire by Susanne Fisher Staples and Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson. --Jennifer Hubert

Amazon.com's Significant Seven

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni graciously agreed to answer the questions we like to ask every author: the Amazon.com Significant Seven.

Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life?
A: Two have been equally significant. Where are you going? by Swami Muktananda, and Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now.

Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they?
A: The book: The Bhagavad Gita. The music: any classical music CD by Ali Akbar Khan. The movie: The Lord of the Rings.

Q: What is the worst lie you've ever told?
A: When my son was little and wouldn't go to sleep, I told him that the red garbage truck would come and get him.

Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.
A: My study, where my computer faces a wall (to minimize outside distractions). On my desk is a dancing Shiva Nataraj, symbol of the cosmic creative principle.

Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
A: The Dalai Lama, or my spiritual teacher, Swami Muktananda

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: To heal the human heart

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for kids and adults alike
I found this book on a clearance table at the bookstore and bought it as a gift for an 11-year-old bookworm.As soon as I opened the book and read a few pages, however, I couldn't bear to part with the book.I've since let the 11-year-old borrow the book with the clear understanding she will give it back when finished. If that's not a recommendation, I'm not sure what is.:)

From a kid's perspective, the story is fast-paced, interesting, packed with intrigue, and just plain fun.Someone not familiar with Hindi words might stumble a bit at first (I had to look up "punkah" before I understood that Anand was helping to power a ceiling fan), but the story is still understandable even not knowing the words.

From a parent's perspective, this story is one that reinforces many good lessons such as honesty, responsibility, empathy, and compassion.I would feel very comfortable with my children reading this book.There are a few slightly scary scenes during confrontations, but they are handled well and should be appropriate for all but the most sensitive children.

From an adult's perspective, the book is truly delicious.The imagery and language behind each step of the story's development lend itself incredibly well to drawing larger conclusions about life than just Anand's story.The best fantasy taps into the deep part of us, and this book did so for me.I found myself mulling over the story long after I'd finished the last page.

The *only* bad part about this book is that all of the descriptions of palek paneer, chapatis, curry, and so on made me hungry!:)

Thoroughly enjoyable, child-appropriate, and well worth the time and money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Colorful
This is one of the best books I have read. I loved the Indian culture connection.I loved it when they went back in time.It is an amazing book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
After picking up her first book in the series, I knew I had to find out if I could find the sequel. I really love her style of writing, spare yet there are no loose ends in the story line. The story is tight and smooth, the characters are richly imagined-although the main character Anand is the focus of most of the character development. This is a happy fantasy series about magic and adventure in historical India that you won't want to miss and will draw you in regardless of your age, with positive morals and themes that are great for children.If you like books like Harry Potter, you'll love this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magical!
This book, the sequel to The Conch Bearer, mixes the sense of excitement that every book needs, a wonderful use of magic realism (which is illustrated by the fact that Anand, the main character, travels from the present day India to the ancient India, who'se realistic features are marred by the fact that Anand is a magician) , an overhanging gloom and really, really, really great writing.

This was one of my favorite books and I would definately recommend it to anyone!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The right blend of fantasy and reality
Anand is the Keeper of the Conch. He gave up his family and his home so that he can help the world, as a Healer in Silver Valley. His friend Nisha comes with him, the first ever female healer, and the master healer Abhaydatta is one of his instructors. As Anand struggles with his studies, he hears a warning from the wind and views an alarming scene on a wall. The Healers must take action; they know it is their duty to protect the world from the "evil that stirs." Abhaydatta and a young healer called Raj-bahnu embark upon a quest to find this evil, leaving a heart-broken Anand behind. However, just before he leaves, Abhaydatta gives Anand a pearl necklace that will change color if he is in danger. In yet another alarming scene, Anand views Abhaydatta beside a lake with an unconscious Raj-bhanu at his side. He knows they are in danger, but the pearls are nowhere to be found. The Healer's Council will decide upon a course of action in the morning, but Anand knows that by then it will be to late. The Conch agrees to transport Nisha and Anand to the lake, but something goes slightly awry. Can Anand find the Conch, Abhaydatta, and Nisha before evil destroys the world?

The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming expresses just how powerful love can be. Adventure, fantasy, and mystery intertwine to form an exciting novel with many important lessons. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has created a world of fantasy that involves so many of life's true feelings and emotions that it seems real; a world full of hardships and triumphs. Readers young and old who love an exciting novel will definitely enjoy The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, and anyone searching for a book with just the right blend of fantasy and reality has just found the perfect tale.

(...) ... Read more

11. The Unknown Errors of Our Lives: Stories
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Kindle Edition: 288 Pages (2002-08-13)
list price: US$13.95
Asin: B000FC1KSY
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In nine poignant stories spiked with humor and intelligence, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni captures lives at crossroad moments–caught between past and present, home and abroad, tradition and fresh experience.
A widow in California, recently arrived from India, struggles to adapt to a world in which neighbors are strangers and her domestic skills are deemed superfluous in the award-winning “Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter.” In “The Intelligence of Wild Things,” a woman from Sacramento visits her brother in Vermont to inform him that back in Calcutta their mother is dying. And in the title story, a painter looks to ancient myth and the example of her grandmother for help in navigating her first real crisis of faith.
Knowing, compassionate and expertly rendered, the stories in The Unknown Errors of Our Lives depict the eternal struggle to find a balance between the pull of home and the allure of change.

From the Trade Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Writer
My freshman English class in college was required to read another of Divakaruni's books, Arranged Marriage. I enjoyed it, so my professor loaned me this one. Wow. It's an amazing book, and Divakaruni is an amazing writer. The way she delves into the human psyche is stunning. This is a must-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book about and therefore for women.
If you do have a hunger to learn about other cultures this book presents some aspects of the Indian culture. I am not Indian, but I am curious.
In an egoistical fashion I declare I find myself in these short stories. In a more general fashion I believe many women will find themselves in these stories. Newcomers to the US, mothers in law, daughters in law, some especially the ooh so much in a rush mothers, and perhaps even a few young women in love. For all the others I would like to suggest to read these stories so as to better understand your relatives, your neighbors and why not yourselves.
I think this is a book that speaks to women, about women. I am glad such a book has been printed, finally.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Brilliant book! such moving stories with an artistry of language that makes me feel Ms Banerjee is a poet trapped in a novelist's body. Comparison's to Jhumpa Lahiri are inevitable and that should serve as a good judge of the depth of this book. In my humble opinion, her writing is BETTER than Ms. Lahiri... the same deftness and poetic nuances without the pretentiousness.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Serious Error Not To Read These Wonderful Stories
I found this excellent compilation of short stories in a bargain bin.I had no expectations, other than the quotations on the cover, since I had never heard of this author.My wife indicated that she had enjoyed her novel "Sister of My Heart," but warned me that I might be put off because Ms. Divakaruni is considered a "chick" writer.While each of these stories is written from the perspective of an Indian woman who must confront an unsettling and disturbing Western culture, I did not feel as if the author shortchanged the male characters.Rather, I concluded that all of the characters were fully realized and artfully drawn, and the stories themselves were first rate and equal to Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies."They deal with themes of assimilation and familial relationships, and they are rescued from the mundane by the author's compassion, humor and marvellous insights.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Painful
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an excellent author and her works captivate and cause one to reflect. In particular, this body of work illuminates painful consequences to sometimes innocent choices...or lack of any choice. This should appeal to any reflective person. ... Read more

12. Die Huterin Der Gewurze (German Edition)
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 414 Pages (1999-01-01)
-- used & new: US$52.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3453150147
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13. Matrimonio arreglado
by Chitra Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 382 Pages (2000-01-01)
list price: US$18.50 -- used & new: US$18.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9580456208
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Matrimonio arreglado es un conjunto de relatos que tratan un mismo tema desde diferentes perspectivas: la crisis de la costumbre ancestral de arreglar matrimonios frente al casamiento por amor, que en últimas lo que muestra es la infiltración de las ideas occidentales en la escala de valores de la India. ... Read more

14. Reason for Nasturiums
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
 Paperback: 72 Pages (1990-12)
list price: US$6.95
Isbn: 0917658280
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15. Anand und das Geheimnis des Silbertals.
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Hardcover: 262 Pages (2004-08-31)

Isbn: 3827050065
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16. Die Prinzessin im Schlangenpalast.
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 461 Pages (2000-12-01)

Isbn: 345317710X
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17. Bengalische Sterne.
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
 Paperback: Pages (2002-11-01)

Isbn: 3453212592
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18. Wer die Sehnsucht kennt
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 350 Pages (2004-02-29)

Isbn: 3453873777
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19. Ma soeur, mon amour.
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 350 Pages (2004-01-31)

Isbn: 2264036079
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20. The Mistress of Spices.
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Paperback: 95 Pages (2003-10-31)

Isbn: 3190028931
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