Sometimes it so happens that when you read too many books from the same author, you begin to easily feel too comfortable with the theme and you can end up even predicting the end and can easily sniff what is happening after having just read a few pages. I had the same feeling with this book. After having read atleast four books prior to reading Arranged Marriage, I was not quite impressed with the theme and emotions as there was nothing new and fresh and it was the same glorified versions of tyrannical husbands holding captive of women, women trying hard to struggle after having left India as immigrants, women confined to the kitchen trying to bail out Indian curries reminiscing their hay days when they would have delicious Indian cuisine at their hometown Calcutta. I badly need to read something different from authors like Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Amulya Malladi and Jhumpa Lahiri. Am I asking for more?
Arranged Marriage is a collection of short stories written to speak the conditions of Indian women who have been married off in an arranged manner by their parents and who are trying really hard to adapt to the new family conditions or even immigrant experiences(Yes, a million times you see them reminiscing the curries and Bengalicuisine memories) and their whole life depends on tending to their husband’s and childrens’ needs. I believe these experiences of traditional tyrannical husbands and conventional suffering housewives may have happened around 50s and 60s and they don’t seem real at all. We have progressed and gone farther upto the Mars It is actually hard to digest the fact that the person who wrote The Palace Of Illusions has not tried to cover the nice things about arranged marriages like adapting to the other side of culture, the bonding between strangers who become partners. This book could have been much better had it not been for cliches in the stories.
I would like to highlight the fact that there are two-three stories with strong women characters but what happens to them later is left for the readers to imagine. I liked the two stories particularly-one of the woman whose husband runs a supermarket and the other is that of a girl wanting to adopt a son. They were different. Also there is a story here is ditto as the book by the same author Sisters Of My Heartand this part is exactly annoying that the story also ends on the same lines. For a new reader of Divakaruni’s may find it gripping and a page turner, but for me it was a very sore book. And for the same reason I may probably not pick up another book by her for the next one year atleast.
I will give it a generous two out of five stars for the writing. If you really want to read a book of this author, my hands up to The Palace Of Illusions. It is far far away from that gem