Tag Archives: Divakaruni

The Unknown Error of Our Lives – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


Plot: 4/5

Language: 4/5

Summary: In 9 short stories, Divakaruni masterfully narrates the lives of individual Indian women; a widow, a wife, a lover, a sister, a daughter. These Indian women are thrust into the American culture of liberalism.  Needless to say, there is a battle of cultures, beliefs and most certainly will. The short stories do not always provide a happy ending for each woman. The author provokes a response from readers through their plight as the women struggle to reconcile culture, hopes and dreams and past and present.

The prose is eloquent and artistic. Although it tends toward much description and may thus be a turn off for some, the cultural references and rich imagery do add to greater understanding of the text as a whole.

This piece of migratory literature is compelling as it elucidates the painful yet hopeful rewards of change.

Review: Divakaruni may be no Catherine Lim or Adeline Yen Ma, but she is a master at what she does. Her literary prowess and her ability to chronicle poignant moments in the lives of not just women, but Indian women is spectacular. This may not be a tear jerking book, but it does beckon one to question the role of women in a patriarchal society. Although these women have to some extent been subsumed into American culture, there is a longing for home; its familiarity, its rich values and also its archaic and perhaps obsolete superstitions and ideals in the liberal and modern world. This book was not wholly a page turner because of the extravagant language (but I guess it’s inherent for Asian authors), but it did make me think “What is/are the unknown error(s) of my life?” The struggle of the women is not because of the error in their lives, but rather the could have/should have/would haves, which the author divulges as she take us on a journey into their psyche and interpersonal lives.

Moral of the story: “It is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts” The Koran