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.

Review: 

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.

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Best Reads of 2015

The year has been tumultuous for various reasons. And yet, sailing through turdy waves, I managed to read 50 books through the year. Few have been good, most have been lukewarm, and some have been great. A little glimpse of the best 5 (in no order) to usher in the new year. Hope you have a great bookish one!

Image Courtesy: Google

Paper Towns by John Green – The tale of Margo and Quentin was quite gripping, getting predictable towards the end, but nonetheless it was chilling in some parts. Wouldn’t rate it higher than The Fault In Our Stars, though both are very different in nature. Paper Towns lacked a little something, I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly, but somehow Margo’s story disappointed me a little. It met my expectations but didn’t exceed them. Still, one of the best I’ve read this year. Hope to read all John Greens and David Levithans in 2016.

ogThe Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – By far the best read this year. I love both her stories and the way she narrates them. There’s pain and love, all mixed up, and that’s what happens when both ends meet. The story about an orphaned girl and her search for destiny in a faraway land touches many chords. Korobi is a delicate yet strong girl, named after the Oleander flower, which is poisonous too. She isn’t, but her destiny is, in the story. Do read if you like complex human relationships.

 

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The Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath – The fact I don’t read mythology or fantasy got nullified this year with the #1 Vikramaditya Trilogy. A very engaging read, taut storyline executed wonderfully. Kudos to the author for bringing back Vikramaditya in style. Just to know what happened next to the characters, many of us are waiting eagerly for the sequel.

amy tanThe Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan – Let’s say I like reading cross-cultural stories. Amy Tan is a hugely successful writer and she made her debut in my bookshelf this year. It was such an enriching experience to read about America and rural China in parallel plots, exploring various relationships. The story is laced with rural beliefs, superstitions, folklore, all but relevant in a later life too. Relationships between a Chinese immigrant mother and her her America raised daughter was heartwarming to say the least. I loved the book and next in line is The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan.

noronariNoronari Katha by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay – I perhaps read more Bangla than any other books at any point of time. Can’t shy away from the vast and rich literature my language boasts of. One of my favourite writers is Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay. Even though he’s an octogenarian, the stories he writes are relevant forever. Again a complex web of human relationships, mostly between a pair of man and woman, the most primitive relationship. It’s an endearing read that will leave you introspecting on your relationships.

Do tell me how many books you read this year and the ones you loved. Happy 2016.