group of nine are trapped in the visa office at an Indian Consulate
after a massive earthquake in an American city. Two visa officers
on the verge of an adulterous affair; Jiang, a Chinese-Indian woman
in her last years; her gifted teenage granddaughter Lily; an ex-soldier
haunted by guilt; Uma, an Indian-American girl bewildered by her
parents' decision to return to Kolkata after twenty years; Tariq,
a young Muslim man angry with the new America; and an enraged and
bitter elderly white couple. As they wait to be rescued-or to die-they
begin to tell each other stories, each recalling 'one amazing thing'
in their life, sharing things they have never spoken of before.
Their tales are tragic and life-affirming, revealing what it means
to be human and the incredible power of storytelling.
Banerjee Divakaruni is the author of fifteen books including the
award-winning short story collection Arranged Marriage, the novels
Sister of My Heart, The Mistress of Spices and The Palace of Illusions.
Her work has been translated into eighteen languages, and two of
her novels have been made into films. Her writings have appeared
in various publications including The Atlantic Monthly and The New
Yorker, and have been published in The Best American Short Stories,
The O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Divakaruni
also writes for children. She is the Betty and Gene McDavid Professor
of Creative Writing at the University of Houston.