Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book review- One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The book, like the title indicates is absolutely amazing. I have no other words for it. When I opened the book last night, I was planning on reading just a few pages before bed. But boy, was I wrong. Not only did the book keep me fully engrossed, I found myself reading the book until the end into early hours of morning. Yes, the the book is simply beautifully written and makes it easy for the reader to connect to each of the characters in it.

The book has a total of 9 characters trapped in a visa office of an Indian consulate in an American city due to an earthquake. Not knowing if they will be rescued or they would be able to rescue as they are trapped inside the broken down building, they have no option but to stay together and hope for the best. The 9 people are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. In order to survive the trauma and because they have no other option but to wait, they start telling each other stories. Stories about 'One Amazing thing' that has happened in their lives.

We see Uma - an Indian- American student who is confused about her parents' decision of moving to India after 20 years, Tariq - a young muslim who considered America as his country, angry at himself and everyone around him due to the happenings on 9/11, Jiang & Lily- the Chinese woman & her granddaughter, Mr Mangalam & Malathi- the visa officer & his secretary who are having issues among themselves, Cameron- an African American ex- soldier haunted by his past and finally a married couple- Mr & Mrs Pritchett who must both face the ghosts of their past.

Jiang surprises everyone by narrating the first story, of how she reached America and about her first love- an Indian man named Mohit. Malathi, the secretary working at the visa office, tells everyone her story of transcending from working at a beauty parlour and the secret lives of the high society ladies who visited the saloon & her life changing decisions she took while working there. Tariq, tells the story of his parents and how much the date 9/11 changed their lives and also about the one mysterious girl in his life- Farah. Lily- the confused and gifted teen tells about her brother, who opened the doors of the beautiful world of magic for her. Mr Pritchett narrates about his neglected childhood and how he found solace in the world of numbers. Mrs Pritchett, whose life was changed by a stranger she saw helping his wife remove her coat. Cameron, the soldier who is haunted still due to his dark past and his lost love. Mr Mangalam, his journey from the small town boy to the wealthy husband of Naina, who has tied him to her even though they are in different countries and his bitterness towards her. And finally, Uma, though in love with an American, finds herself wondering what is in store for her future once she goes to India to be with her parents.

The novel stresses on the magic of story telling and its powers. Of how we can find redemption even in the darkest of times. Each individual story is unique of its own and it switches between the past stories and the present one where the 9 people are united as though by some unknown fate.

The story is definitely not one to be missed. Do give this one a read and you will be hooked on to this book just like how I was. I would say a 5 on 5!!!


  1. maybe i need to grab a copy...
    thanks for sharing

  2. Must get this she has great story telling talent!

  3. Must get this she has great story telling talent!

  4. @Deeps- Do grab a copy & let me know if you liked it as well...

  5. @DD- Do read 1 of her books... Her way of writing is truly amazing!


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