Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


Published in 1995, Arranged Marriage is the first book written by this author. I had been thinking of reading something by this author and luckily our library had this book. I really had no idea what this book was about. After reading the first story and then going to the second did I realize that this was a small book of lovely short stories. Stories of Indian Bengali women, away from India and trying to adapt to the huge cultural changes.

I stopped after every story to either think of the women and her circumstances or to wipe a tear away. I think the most touching story would have to be of the women who is happily settled in the US, is in a relationship but indepepndent, the independence she would never be able to get from Indian men. All is well until she sees a scared boy under the staircase of her apartments. After reading this one I could not read the next one, it was so sad.

There was another one too, in which a daughter who has come back from the US, is talking to her aunt. This daughter is silently sad about the fact that there is no emotional bond between her mother and her. When the aunt unfolds the long forgotten past of her family, the daughter is surprised that there are memories that were hidden; she understands why her mother chooses to be detached. This story had me turn the pages in anticipation and I did shed a tear or two at the end.

And there are some more that really touched me. I cannot say I love this book but there were some stories here that will stay with me for sometime to come. I am sure I have to try other books by this author, and I will in the very near future.

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  1. I am intrigued to read the book. But only thing that bothers me is sadness, it’s not that I don’t read sad or complex stories but when the culture and the issues are close to home it hurts more πŸ™

  2. I read this book. I enjoyed it but found some stories disturbing. I want to read Mistress of Spices and The Palace of Illusions. This author is a professor in a nearby university but I never had a chance to go to any of her book signings or book readings πŸ™

  3. You read this one just the way I like to read short stories, taking some time between each story to soak it in. Sounds like an author I definitely need to be on the outlook for.

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