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Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars deep insights on the immigrant experience, April 24, 2001
This review is from: The Unknown Errors of Our Lives (Hardcover)
This new collection of achingly beautiful stories from the author of Sister of my Heart is an elegant articulation of the immigrant experience and its varieties. It goes deeply into what it means to be displaced, uprooted, re-rooted either by time, place or relationships. The most touching story in the collection is entitled "Mrs Dutta Writes a Letter" which tells of a mother now joined to her beloved son's family in America. It depicts in such gorgeous details the mother's sense of dislocation, and her desire to put up a nice front for her son and those she left behind in India. When she finally got around to writing a letter as a response to a dear friend, she could not keep up with the "front" anymore and ended pouring out her real self to her friend in her letter. The story is a powerful evocation of the embodied interplay between duty and loyalty of a mother to a son, or son to a mother, love between them, tradition, the sense of being different, the sense of connection or absence thereof, and the pursuit of happiness, among others. It's got all the elements of what it means to be an immigrant, and how all these factors - love, compassion, duty, tradition, etc get into the mix. Another great moving story is "The Intelligence of Wild Things. It is a story of a sister who visited her brother to inform him, after long years of no communicaton between the brother and her mother, that their mother is dying. It is about failed communication, but it is also about the ways we communicate successfully without fully knowing it, as if inherent in us. Although "Indian" in setting, this could easily well be about anybody, for after all, the world has become so mobile, everyone becomes an "immigrant".
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