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One Amazing Thing – a novel Novel

Written by: Suba Subramanium

Book cover
One Amazing Thing

"One Amazing Thing" by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, is all about nine people caught together in an earthquake as they are waiting for Visas in the Indian Embassy.

Caught in a never-before situation the nine people are waiting to be rescued after a major earthquake. Each person is asked to share one amazing thing that has happened in their lives. The nine stories narrated by the nine characters are seamlessly interwoven to form the novel. The nine stories are varied in style and attitude. The nine characters have nothing in common, and their stories are not related. However, they are engrossing and each has its own appeal.

"One Amazing Thing" is different in style and approach. As each character in the novel recount their story the reader is able to get a clearer picture of each person. The narration is excellent and the descriptions of the scenes are meticulous and multihued, the characterization is clear and well developed. You have a Black American, who is an ex military man, an elderly Chinese woman with her young Americanized granddaughter, a young Americanized Indian college woman, a young Indian Americanized man, an aging American white couple, and the Indian employees of the consulate all nine trapped in the basement of an Indian consulate in the US.

"One Amazing Thing" is a brilliant book, captivating the reader from start to finish. It is not a collection of short stories put together bit by bit in one book, but interlaced in such a way that they have an impact on the other characters and the reader.

Usually people sitting in a waiting room hardly talk to each other, some read, some sleep, some play games, but put together in an emergency situation they interact, not always as expected, this is the essence of this amazing novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

Divakaruni has an exceptional gift for timing and relationships that hold you riveted page after page.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was born in India and now lives near San Francisco with her husband and two children. Divakaruni teaches creative writing at a local college, and is the coordinator for a helpline for South Asian women.
Some of Divakaruni other well known novels are
o Arranged Marriage: Stories (1995)
o The Mistress of Spices (1997)
o Sister of My Heart (1999)
o Queen of Dreams (2004)
o The Palace of Illusions: A Novel (2008)

Here are some of the awards Divakaruni has received for her literary skills
• 1995: The American Book Award for Arranged Marriage: Stories
• 1997: Los Angeles Times Best Books of 1997 for Mistress of Spices
• 1998: Seattle Times Best Paperbacks of 1998 for Mistress of Spices
• 2003: Pushcart Prize for "The Lives of Strangers"
• 2007: Distinguished Writer Award from the South Asian Literary Association
• 2009: Cultural Jewel Award from the Indian Culture Center, Houston
• PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award for Arranged Marriage: Stories
• Bay Area Book Reviewers Award for Fiction for Arranged Marriage: Stories

One thing the novel promises is not to disappoint you, and the promise is kept from start to finish. It is satisfying, well-crafted, and beautiful.

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