Book Review : Oleander Girl

Blurb View: 

photo 1 (1)Divakaruni’s descriptive, evocative writing makes you race through the book and then mourn its completion. For those who are fans of the author, this is a must-read. For those who have yet to discover her, this book is a must

People Troubled by the silence that surrounds her parents’ death, seventeen-year old Korobi Roy clings to her only inheritance from them: the unfinished love note she found hidden in her mother’s book of poetry. But when her grandfather dies, the young woman discovers a dark secret which will finally explain her past.

‘A coming of age novel in the best tradition, with a heroine who is both infuriating and endearing and most importantly, brave – Divakaruni’s gift is story telling and she is generous with her gift’- Huffington Post.


It’s not easy to review your favourite authors’ books. There’s a certain amount of expectation that you already set even before reading it, and most readers like me keep on tallying their projections with each page or chapter of the book. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is one of my favourite Indian authors and I begin reading her books with an anticipation of new layers opening up in our normal human relationships. She doesn’t write about supernatural or psychos or serial killers, her characters are as close to us as ourselves, which makes them more appealing and real.

If you have read Divakaruni’s books, there’s quite often a story involving an unusual mother-daughter pair or sisters separated by distance and fate. The stories are immensely layered with a plethora of emotions, love, envy and often hatred too. Frequently set across continents and generations, there’s a vast expanse of familial tension, conversations, plots and subplots. Oleander Girl is about Korobi, well, mostly her and Rajat, her beau. Korobi is an orphan, raised by her benevolent grandparents with the memories of her mother.

cbp5Korobi grows up to be a beautiful young woman, a little contained in herself, immersed in her academics. She has Rajat, a young business tycoon as her companion, to be married soon. Life seems complete until the Banyan tree of her family, her grandfather expires. A Pandora’s Box opens before her and compels her to confront her origin and past. Korobi decides to travel to an unknown land in search of her roots, leaving Rajat and her life behind.

Once you start reading, you are sure to be engrossed into Korobi’s life. The why and how of her quest for roots begins as an enigma and proceeds gradually. Korobi rediscovers the equations between her relationships with her nearest ones. That is the beauty of CBD’s writing and is the trait I love in her books. As with most of her books, the writing has a beautiful flair and flows like a river.

Recommended for readers interested in human relationships.

My Rating: 4.5/5

ChitraAbout the Author:

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the acclaimed author of sixteen novels, which include The Mistress of Spices and, most recently, One Amazing Thing. Her books have been translated into twenty-nine languages and two have been made into films. Divakaruni was born in Kolkata and moved to the United States for her graduate studies. She currently lives in Houston, Texas.

Book Details:

Language: English,  Genre: Fiction/Contemporary

Author(s): Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Publisher: Penguin, Year Published: March 2014

Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 304

ISBN-13:  978-0143422495 , ISBN-10: 0143422499

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One thought on “Book Review : Oleander Girl

  1. The many memorable characters that people this novel make it a pleasure to read. In that way it resembles Divakaruni’s earlier novels, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart. She lavishes as much care on secondary characters like Rajat’s little sister and the family chauffeur, Asif, as she does on the principals. Divakaruni’s tale is so well-plotted that few will guess the secrets at the heart of this page-turner. There’s a lot of suspense, but if you go back and read again, the clues are all there. If, in the end, life falls a little too neatly into place for everyone, who really cares?


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