Tuesday, May 4, 2010

American Express

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni leaves aside Indian exotica to tell an American story

In a basement visa office in an unnamed American city, seven candidates wait for their applications to be stamped. When an earthquake strikes, the group, along with two visa officers, finds itself stranded, waiting for death or deliverance. While they wait, they tell each other stories: about that one thing that made a difference in their lives. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new novel One Amazing Thing follows the circular pattern of a story in a story, like The Canterbury Tales, which one of the protagonists, Uma, reads as she waits, and a theme worked so well to advantage by novelists like Rana Dasgupta in Tokyo Cancelled.

“I have long been intrigued by works that use the tale-within-a tale framework. I wanted to explore the way the stories reveal characters and have an effect on other characters, the way stories have the power to transform strangers into a close community,” says Divakaruni.

Full report here Indian Express

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