Book Description from the Front Cover FlapLate afternoon in a passport and visa office in an unnamed American city. Most customers and even most office workers have come and gone, but nine people remain. A punky teenager with an unexpected gift. An upper-class Caucasian couple whose relationship is disintegrating. A young Muslim-American man struggling with the fallout of 9/11. A graduate student haunted by a question about love. An African-American ex-soldier searching for redemption. A Chinese grandmother with a secret past. And two visa office workers on the verge of an adulterous affair.
When an earthquake rips through the afternoon lull, trapping these nine characters together, their focus first jolts to their collective struggle to survive. There's little food. The office begins to flood. Then, at a moment when the psychological and emotional stress seems nearly too much for them to bear, the young graduate student suggests that each tell a personal tale, "one amazing thing" from their lives, which they never told anyone before. And as their lives, which they have nevertold anyone before. And as their surprising stories of romance, marriage, family, political upheaval, and self-discovery unfold against the urgency of their life-or-death circumstances, the novel proves the transcendent power of stories and the meaningfulness of human expression itself. From Chitra Divakaruni, author of such finely wrought, bestselling novels as Sister of My Heart, The Palace of Illusions, and The Mistress of Spices, comes her most compelling and transporting story to date. One Amazing Thing is passionate creation about survival-and about the reasons to survive.
Comments from Back Cover"One Amazing Thing collapses the walls dividing characters and cultures; what endures is a chorus of voices in one single room."
-Jhumpa Lahri, author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake
"I was up very late. I read straight through because this is the sort of book that pulls you along. Divakaruni is so adept with her characterizations… I wanted to be in any of the beauty salons described so lovingly. I wanted to eat the its of food described with such delicacy."
"Ingeniously conceived and intelligently written, this novel is a fable for our times. The characters, troubled or shattered by their past, vibrate with life whenever they begin to speak. The book is a fun read from the first page to the last."
"Chitra Divakaruni understands the power of stories to heal us, make us laugh, and comfort us in the most difficult of circumstances. I loved One Amazing Thing, and I'm sure that readers everywhere will embrace it too."
"An incredible and highly original premise in the hands of a gifted storyteller has resulted in this jewel of a story. It is, to paraphrase the book's title, an amazing thing."
Background on Chitra Banerjee DivakaruniChitra Banerjee Divakaruni, an award-winning and bestselling writer and poet, is the author of fifteen books, including the short story collection Arranged Marriage, which won an American Book Award, and the novels Sister of My Heart, The Mistress of Spices, Queen of Dreams, and The Palace of Illusions. Her work has been translated into eighteen languages, and two of her novels have been made into movies. Her writings have appeared in more than fifty magazine, including The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and have been published in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. A frequently sought-after op-ed commentator regarding South Asian-American culture, Divakaruni also writes for children. She is the Betty and Gene McDavid Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Houston.
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Most recent revision July 31, 2010