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4.4 out of 5 stars38
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 January 2002
All I can say is that if Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni had written as many books as Anne Tyler and Margaret Atwood I would be a very happy person as there would be so much more of her magical world to inhabit. I'm longing for her new book to appear, having read everything else. I have to say that if you haven't read anything by her, start with this one and then read the Mistress of Spices as the novels are better than the short stories - and the reason why is that her short stories are so good you feel bereft after the few pages you have because you feel there's a novel in each one waiting to be written.
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on 17 October 2000
This is a story just made for me - perfect in all its twists and turns, and even though I, too, had an inkling as to the main twist before it came still it was so often heart wrenchiong I often felt the tears welling up! I wespecilly like the fact that, though the ending is perfect, you know it's not realy the end, not everything is tied up perfectly, you know there will be problems (with Sunil, for example) and people waiting backstage to come back on (no, I won't giove the plot away!)but you know the girls have reached maturity and will be capable of dealing with everything that comes along. That's what I call a really happy ending - in spite of the tragedy. The only reason I give it 4 stars and not 5 is because the style is in my opinion over the top in some cases, a little heavy handed in the metaphors (time creeping along like a crippled animal etc) and also because I really don't like books in the present tense - I find it somehow jarring. But don't let this turn you off - READ IT! (And if you like this you might also like "of marriageable age" (Sharon Maas), which is another heart wrenching Indian-background story)
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on 10 April 2000
A superb story of a simple and common thing in most Indian women. I enjoyed the mix of East and West, and the the characters. Almost saw my own family there with Pishi. However, the twists to the story were a bit predictable. Just when the story was getting interesting, it came to an end. I hope the author writes a sequel.
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on 26 August 2000
I was at first doubtful about reading this book when it was recommended.(If anything the cover was a bit off putting for the 'light' bedtime reads I usually enjoy)but takes the likes of Cookson and Binchley into a different sphere altogether.Here is a breath of fresh air to the 'family stories' shelf in the local library. At first I found the style of writing difficult to follow and had to double check who, why, where we were in the story.The chapters are alternatly written by the two main characters.The passage of time is handled flawlessly without the seams showing.I spotted the main twist very early which did slightly spoil what has other wise be a compelling read-can't wait to read Mistress of Spices
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on 20 October 2001
This book is beautifully narrated, with vivid imagination and excellent potrayal of life of Indians. It feel as though you are in India.
The author has drawn up on her own personal experience in India and America, which is well delivered in this tale of two young girls Anju and Sudha.
A finial note to end my review,, that it is fulfilling and a great joy to read.
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on 12 August 1999
Never before has the intricacies of human emotions been so beautifully woven together. A story that will make you cry, laugh, angry, and most of all, reflect upon the irony of true love, or rather, the notion of it. For isn't true love a dream created by man? A wish to cling unto in times of utter despair, when the world crumbles around one in a heap? The author has come to grips with human nature in its most primitive form, yet how uneasy it makes us feel! There are no words to describe the mixed pouch of emotions I carried with me when I finished the book. All I could hear was a silent echo in the empty corridors of my heart.....
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on 27 April 2010
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's book "Sister of My Heart" is a truly wonderful book; a beautifully written story that is genuinely hard to put down. Ostensibly the tale of Calcutta's Chatterjee family, "Sister of My Heart" follows the fates and fortunes of cousins Anju and Sudha through girlhood into womanhood.

The cousins' stories are told in chapter format with the narrative alternating between them. This makes for a very readable format, allowing space to convincingly portray Anju as the adventurous, head-strong, stubborn girl while Sudha remains the more thoughtful, introspective, dutiful character. Their stories bring together a real mix of ancient and modern, from traditional customs, family secrets and superstitions through to the life of a modern working woman, with plenty of time for mystical stories and legends throughout. Interestingly, although the book is steeped in stories, fables and Hindu mysticism, none of this ever takes away from the pace of the book, it just enriches the Indian heart of the story while the story keeps moving.

"Sister of My Heart" is a hugely enjoyable family saga, a compelling story in its own right, but it's also an interesting glimpse of an India in which women are still expected to come second to their husbands and their in-laws, in which marriages are still arranged and in which modern opportunities are within sight but not always within reach. A really thoughtful, beautifully written and engrossing read. Highly recommended.
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on 14 October 2014
I found this book in the library and loved it, am so pleased to have my own, hardcover copy in as good a condition as billed. It pleases me to have books that I know I will want to re-read in hardcover, new, or in as new a condition as possible
As for the content of the book, it is a very moving story set in the Calcutta in which I grew up in the 60s, I recognised the world and found it realistically represented -- but the story reaches into the realms of fairytale, too, which gives it a greater depth and wider context, though the charactes are entirely convincingly depicted . The story continues in (I think) "The Vine of Desire" in which the sisters' world moves (no doubt along with the author) to the United States, but the mythical quality persists and the writer's individuality of observation becomes even more noticeable. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni writes stories which nobody else could.
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on 10 May 2000
This story of two cousins growing up in Bombay and their marriages is a sheer delight, and for someone who sadly has never been to India a wonderful eye opener. The charecters are all wonderful, not cliched at all, the plot is great, what else can I say except read it.
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on 15 March 2000
this book is beautiful.. it is as enchanting as a smile of a new born baby... the prose is like the tinkling of a fairies laughter.. it is one of the most lyrical and poignant stories i have ever read. a definite page turner.. u wont regrett this purchase!
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