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About Bharati Mukherjee
Award-winning Indian-born American author Bharati Mukherjee was born in Calcutta (now called Kolkata) in 1940, the second of three daughters born to Bengali-speaking, Hindu Brahmin parents. She lived in a house crowded with 40 or 50 relatives until she was eight, when her father's career brought the family to live in London for several years.
She returned to Calcutta in the early 1950s where she attended the Loreto School. She received her B.A. from the University of Calcutta in 1959 as a student of Loreto College, and earned her M.A. from the University of Baroda in 1961. She next travelled to the United States to study at the University of Iowa, where she received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1963 and her Ph.D. in 1969 from the department of Comparative Literature.
After more than a decade living in Montreal and Toronto in Canada, Mukherjee and her husband, internationally acclaimed author Clark Blaise, returned to the United States. She wrote of the decision in "An Invisible Woman," published in a 1981 issue of "Saturday Night." Mukherjee and Blaise co-authored "Days and Nights in Calcutta (1977) and "The Sorrow and the Terror: The Haunting Legacy of the Air India Tragedy (Air India Flight 182)" (1987).
Mukherjee taught at McGill University, Skidmore College, Queens College, and City University of New York. She is currently a professor in the English department at the University of California, Berkeley.
Mukherjee is best known for her novels "The Tiger's Daughter" (1971); "Wife" (1975); "Jasmine" (1989); "The Holder of the World" (1993); "Leave It to Me" (1997); "Desirable Daughters" (2002); "The Tree Bride" (2004); and "Miss New India" (2011). Her short story collections and memoirs include "Darkness" (1985); "The Middleman and Other Stories" (1988); and "A Father". Non Fiction works include: "Days and Nights in Calcutta"; and "The Sorrow and the Terror."
She was the winner of the 1988 National Book Critics Circle Award for "The Middleman and Other Stories."
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Illuminating a new world of people in migration that has transformed the essence of America, these collected stories are a dazzling display of the vision of this critically-acclaimed contemporary writer.
An aristocratic Filipina negotiates a new life for herself with an Atlanta investment banker. A Vietnam vet returns to Florida, a place now more foreign than the Asia of his war experience. An Indian widow tries to explain her culture’s traditions of grieving to her well-intentioned friends. And in the title story, an Iraqi Jew whose travels have ended in Queens suddenly finds himself an unwitting guerrilla in a South American jungle.
Passionate, comic, violent, and tender, these stories draw us into a cultural fusion in the midst of its birth pangs, expressing a “consummated romance with the American language” (The New York Times Book Review).
This is the remarkable story of Hannah Easton, a unique woman born in the American colonies in 1670, “a person undreamed of in Puritan society.” Inquisitive, vital and awake to her own possibilities, Hannah travels to Mughal, India, with her husband, and English trader. There, she sets her own course, “translating" herself into the Salem Bibi, the white lover of a Hindu raja.
It is also the story of Beigh Masters, born in New England in the mid-twentieth century, an “asset hunter” who stumbles on the scattered record of her distant relative's life while tracking a legendary diamond. As Beigh pieces together details of Hannah's journeys, she finds herself drawn into the most intimate and spellbinding fabric of that remote life, confirming her belief that with “sufficient passion and intelligence, we can decontrsuct the barriers of time and geography....”
--The Washington Post Book World
"MUKHERJEE IS FEARLESS . . . DARING AND WITTY . . . Take the wild ride with Debby DiMartino from Albany to San Francisco, from lost child to masked avenger."
--The Boston Globe
"POWERFULLY WRITTEN . . . Debby has no memory of her birth parents. All she knows is that she was born in a remote Indian village, the daughter of a hippie back-packing mother and a mysterious Eurasian father, both of whom have disappeared almost without a trace. . . . Her quest for her biological parents turns into an obsession. . . . Leave It to Me . . . shows Mukherjee at the peak of her craft. . . . Mixing the Greek myth of Electra with the Indian myth of Devi, she sends Devi/Debby careening down on the Bay Area like an elemental force of vengeance."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"DEVI IS A BRILLIANT CREATION--hilarious, horribly knowing and even more horribly oblivious--through whom Bharati Mukherjee, with characteristic and shameless ingenuity, is laying claim to speak for an America that isn't 'other' at all."
--The New York Times Book Review
"STUNNING . . . An astute, ironic, and merciless insight into an aberrant version of the American dream."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)