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One Amazing Thing Paperback – Deckle Edge, February 2, 2010
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More About the Author
Book Award and the internation Premio Scanno Prize. Divakaruni also writes for children and young adults.
Her latest novel is Oleander Girl (Simon and Schuster, 2013). Her upcoming novel is Before We Visit the Goddess (about 3 generations of women-- grandmother, mother and daughter-- who each examine the question "what does it mean to be a successful woman." April 2016, Simon & Schuster.)
Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into movies. Her novels One Amazing Thing and Palace of Illusions have been optioned. Her collection of stories, Arranged Marriage has been made into a play.
She was born in India and came to the United States to continue her education, receiving a Master's degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
She currently teaches in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program at the Univ. of Houston. She serves on the Advisory board of Maitri in the San Francisco Bay Area and Daya in Houston, organizations that help South Asian or South Asian American women in abusive situations. She is also closely involved with Pratham, an organization that helps educate children (especially those living in urban slums) in India.
She has judged several prestigious awards, such as the National Book Award and the PEN Faulkner Award.
She lives in Houston with her husband Murthy and has two sons, Anand and Abhay (whose names she has used in her children's novels).
Top Customer Reviews
The story of One Amazing Thing (no spoilers here, it's in the product description) revolves around a very promising plot device: a heterogeneous group of people that are in the Indian consulate of an American city are trapped in the basement of the building by a huge earthquake. Most of the trapped people have trips planned to India, two are consulate employees. While the building slowly crumbles, and the basement begins to flood, survival becomes an issue. To pass the time, each person is invited to tell a story, a story about "one amazing thing" that happened in their lives.
Divakauruni, with a Ph.D in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley, and currently teaching creative writing at the University of Houston, is a master of her craft. Her work has been recognized with significant awards, and has been published in Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. Divakaruni's talent is easily visible in One Amazing Thing, both in the careful creation of the setting, and in the development of the characters.
Divakaruni did not have life handed to her on a silver platter, and the experiences she gained by having to work at a wide variety of jobs to support the cost of her education, as well as those absorbed from her multi-cultural upbringing, may well be the source of the depth she is able to achieve with each of her characters. Some authors have a message for the reader that the characters become slave to.Read more ›
This was an interesting premise but a very disappointing outcome. I found the stories the survivors share with each other to be stale, sometimes predictable and more often than not cliché ridden and, despite having such in-depth knowledge about each of these nine survivors, I felt like I really knew very little about them.
The author, Chitra Divakaruni, has a very large vocabulary and she isn't afraid to use it to excess which made reading some of the descriptive passages awkward at times. Also, the author writes the character's thoughts and rhetorical questions parenthetically which generally has the effect of taking me out of the story altogether. Done once or twice for effect I don't have a problem, but this technique is used repeatedly on nearly every page. Finally, the ambiguous ending left me feeling more than cheated.
I was attracted to this book by the blurb on the back and I really wanted to enjoy it, but I was very disappointed. The only thing I enjoyed about the book was the small amount of insight into Indian culture I received in the telling.
We learn in One Amazing Thing that we can't judge a book by its cover. After reading One Amazing Thing I learned that we probably shouldn't trust the advertising copy on the back of the cover.
The premise sounds rather simple, but I felt these short stories provided more insight and character development than some novels I've read. If you had to pick one amazing thing from your life to share with someone, I would think you would share something which is truly representative of the type of person you are. I mean, there is the type of thing you would consider amazing, I'm sure we all have different ideas of what is amazing. Would you chose something small? Or something big?
I enjoyed the diverse cast of characters. There was Cameron, the African-American who had a fabulous story about why he wanted to visit India. Mangalam, the boss of the consulate who has an interesting reason to be in America. Lily, the Chinese-American teenager and her grandmother - I think I loved Lily's story the most. Tariq - a young man strong in his Islamic beliefs. Mr. and Mrs. Pritchett - the only white characters, Mr. Pritchett's story literally made my eyes water. I know you probably expect each character's story to have a common thread, but they don't. Each story shared offers a glimpse into the life of a character which left me wanting more than just the single look.
The writing style was gorgeous. For example, this quote "When I Was A Child,' Jiang began, 'I lived inside a secret." Doesn't that just leave you wanting more?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed The stories of each person: different and intriguing backgrounds. A quick, enjoyable read. Not a 5 star book but a good 3 star.Published 10 days ago by Shimko
What started as merely research for a speech I was giving quickly captivated me. I rapidly read the book in just a couple sittings, I was eager to find out how the fate of the nine... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Shannon
I picked up this book at a used book sale (Friends of the Library) for $1 because of the Lisa See quote on the cover (I love Lisa See). Read morePublished 1 month ago by M. Dodge
Wonderful story-telling. The characters absolutely come to life.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this book at first, though I thought the storytelling was a little stiff and contrived. But then it just ended with no resolution, in the middle of one of the character's... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lynn Ferda
Interesting story. Was a required read for me, but happy to have read it.Published 6 months ago by Linda M
Amazon insists on twenty words when all I want to do is sit back and think of this gentle, wise story.Published 6 months ago by Sallie F B