Home > Book Club, Fiction > Sister of My Heart by Chitra Divakaruni

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Divakaruni

Thursday, 10 April 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Fiction. Paperback from Anchor. Published in 2000. 336 pages. On loan from the Flower Mound Public Library.

I’ve cut it close this month only finishing the book club selection less than a week before the next meeting. Usually I’ve got them read way ahead of time, often months ahead. In this instance it just didn’t work out that way. I thought it would not matter if I didn’t get it read at all, however, because this was a second read through for me. Turns out I did remember most of it, but not all. So, it’s just as well that I did get it read. (Though I didn’t read last months again, and didn’t remember a whole lot of it and still fared pretty well discussing it at the meeting.) I did enjoy the book but don’t think I would have picked it up to read a second time if it had not been a book club selection.

It’s always interesting to read stories that are set in cultures that are different from my own. It’s amazing how some things transcend cultural boundaries – things like parents worrying about protecting their kids, how to make a living, etc – and how some worries come about because of the specific culture. Many of the themes in the book are universal ones, but others, like how to deal with arranged marriages, are not. It’s an exercise in imagination to try to understand what it would be like to live in circumstances different from what I’m used to living with, and to wonder how my reactions might differ from the characters in the book. There is a good mix of both common and not so common (to me, anyway) things in this book.

Publisher’s Summary:
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.

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Categories: Book Club, Fiction
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