Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Book Review: The Unknown Errors of Our Lives
I just completed this Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's book, thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection of stories of Indian immigrants who have migrated to the US and the adjustments that their lives undergo- be it connecting with their familial roots back home or making accomodations to the life here or bridging the generational differences that transit beyond seas. Every story resonates with a moving pulse on how human emotions thrive in individuals, families that have a cultural connection embedded in them.
The book has 9 stories and each story is unique in its own way. While every story portrays the dynamics between a parent and child or between siblings or in-laws, each one is poignant with a sense of reality that leaves behind a mark in our hearts.
Most of the Indian families that Chitra refers to hail from North India, especially West Bengal, but, the stories are very applicable to any woman or man from India living abroad. Without giving away the contents, each story has a direct message that ties into the title, the unknown mistakes that we make in our lives. There is a tale of an Indian woman settled in the US who is forced to make amendments with her estranged father when he wants to see his grandchild in his older days. Another story that rings with reality is that of a widowed mother who comes to US to live with her son and daughter-in-law only to discover that her ways are considered old-fashioned, embarassment to her daughter-in-law. A story about an Indian girl who visits India and goes on a pilgrimage tour, only to discover herself and the purpose of her life. There is also a tale about a lesbian woman who meets someone from India in this country and how their relationship blossoms into one of comfort. A story with the book's title is also written to express how a young woman paints about Indian mythology and the comforts that she draws from those paintings to deal with an unexpected twist about her fiance are all woven beautifully into this collection.
While I did not enjoy reading Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's "Mistress of Spices", this book, more than made up for it. A good read that knocks some lessons into our heads and makes us think about the unknown errors that we ourselves may have done in our lives.