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The Lives of Strangers

by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

I became instantly immersed in the lives of Indian immigrants to America in this collection of humourous short stories. The stories have a foreign flavour, yet the more I read the more I appreciated Divakaruni's insight as she describes universal truths about family life, whether in Calcutta or California. The stories show great compassion for the human condition.

Extract

Where I grew up you didn't talk to your mother that way, not even when she'd lost what was most important in her life and thus ruined yours. And though my mother and I conversed about many things - my college professors, a new movie, the rising price of Ilish fish - we rarely spoke about what we really thought. We buried our hurts inside our bodies, like shrapnel. We'd been trained well by generations of grandmothers and widow-aunts whose silences weighed down the air of the crumbling ancestral home where we still lived, though now it was too large for the two of us.

Parallels

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
 

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