Divakaruni says she can't stay away
too long from three men in her life
A P Kamath
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is hitting the road again, this time to publicise the paperback edition of her second novel, Sister of My Heart, which is already on the best-sellers list in San Francisco Bay Area.
Having promoted the book in San Francisco and St Louis, Divakaruni will go to Columbus, Dayton, Kansas City, Madison and Milwaukee soon. Her publishers would love her for visiting more cities, but Divakaruni cannot keep away too long from her teaching job at the University of Houston -- and the three men in her life, her husband and two sons.
How does she feel about the new tour?
"A paperback-book tour is very different from a hardback tour," says Divakaruni, author of Arranged Marriage and The Mistress of Spices, both critically acclaimed best-sellers.
"When Sister of My Heart first came out, I was much more nervous touring, as we had not received the reviews yet. And everyday I wondered what the critics would say. Now that the reviews are done, it is more relaxed."
"On the other hand, at readings and talks I find people in the audience who have read the book, so I have to be prepared to answer questions -- often complex ones about theme and symbol!"
"Overall, going on a tour is very difficult for me. First, I have two little children... must make elaborate preparations at home for them," she continues.
"Next, all the travelling and talking to media is very exhausting -- as a writer, I am somewhat shy and I really like a quiet, reflective lifestyle."
"On the other hand, it is a great opportunity to meet my readers."
She is thrilled that the raves came from across the country and beyond, from such wide ranging publications as the Wall Street Journal and The Sunday Times, London.
'Captivating. Divakaruni emphasises the cathartic force of storytelling with sumptuous prose....[Her] earlier works have been compared to those of Latin American writers Laura Esquivel and Isabel Allende,' wrote the Journal.
'In Sister of My Heart, however, she defies categorisation, beautifully blending the chills of reality with the rich imaginings of a fairy tale.'
Sister of My Heart tells the story of two young women who are bonded in ways even their mothers cannot understand and whose friendship is tested even as their lives take to opposite turns, and who are drawn into understanding the dark secrets in the lives of their family members.
'Rich, melodic, complicated, a sensual bridge between worlds: India and America,' wrote USA Today.
And the Sunday Times noted that Divakaruni 'strikes a delicate balance between realism and fantasy in Sister of My Heart.'
'A touching celebration of enduring love between two women,' it noted.
While many reviews such as the one in Los Angeles Times found the novel 'beguiling and cleverly plotted,' several thought it was a more engaging work than her first.
'Divakaruni's books possess a power that is both transporting and healing,' said the Booklist.
Divakaruni, who has been teaching for nearly a decade, first in California, and then in Houston, plans to be a full-time writer. She also plans to spend more time with Maitri, a self-affirmation organisation for South Asians she co-founded with entrepreneur Radha R Basu several years ago.
Columbus, Ohio, February 17, 1930 at the Columbus School for Girls, Shedd Theater, located on E Broad St in Belly, just east of downtown.
Dayton, Ohio, February 18 evening at Books & Co.
Madison, Wisconsin, February 23 evening at Canterbury Booksellers.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 24 evening at Harry W Stewards.
Kansas City, Missouri, February 25 evening at the Kansas City Public Library.
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