|Asia Society Texas Center Invites You |
to the launch party for One Amazing Thing, the new novel from
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Reading, on-stage interview, book sale and signing
February 2, 2010
United Way of Houston
50 Waugh Dr., Houston, TX, 77007
Free admission, RSVP requested
Click here to RSVP
For more information contact Fritz Lanham at 713.439.0051 x 17 or email email@example.com
In the visa office of the Indian consulate in an unnamed American city, nine strangers sit patiently. An underground rumble brings a flake of plaster drifting down from the ceiling. Moments later a second rumble, heralding a massive earthquake, brings the entire building down around their heads, trapping them in darkness, their fate cast in the balance.
So begins One Amazing Thing, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's stunning new novel about the power of stories. Divakaruni, one of Houston's best-loved novelists, will launch One Amazing Thing at a Feb. 2 reading and reception presented by Asia Society Texas Center.
The novel represents something of a departure for Divakaruni, whose best-known fiction -- the short-story collection Mistress of Spices and such novels as Sister of My Heart and Vine of Desire -- deals with the immigrant experience.
Here she assembles a varied cast comprising an Indian-American graduate student consumed with questions about love, an African-American Vietnam vet in search of redemption, a wealthy white couple whose marriage is on the skids, a young Muslim-American man struggling with the fallout from 9/11, an elderly Chinese woman nursing a secret and her teenage granddaughter, and two consulate workers on the verge of an adulterous affair. Divakaruni, who evacuated her Houston home during Hurricane Rita and spent time with Katrina refugees, also taps those experiences in the novel.
The graduate student, to take everyone's mind off their plight, suggests each tell a story of "one amazing thing" from his or her life. What follows are tales of romance, self-discovery, political upheaval and more, all attesting to the transcendent power of human expression. Fellow novelist Jhumpa Lahiri has said of the book, "One Amazing Thing collapses the walls dividing characters and cultures; what endures is a chorus of voices in one single room."
The reading will be followed by an onstage interview conducted by St. John Flynn, program director and host of The Front Row on KUHF-FM, and a question-and-answer period. The evening concludes with a reception and book signing. Blue Willow Bookshop will handle onsite book sales. Admission is free.
One Amazing Thing (Voice, $23.99) is Divakaruni's 16th book. In addition to adult fiction she has written novels for young adults, including the Brother of the Conch trilogy (The Conch Bearer, The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, Shadowland). She is also a poet. Divakaruni teaches creative writing at the University of Houston and maintains an extensive web site at www.chitradivakaruni.com.