- 65,00 kr
Novelist and award-winning cookbook author Bharti Kirchner has written a sweeping family saga, a first class fiction about forbidden love and family honor.
Set in the mountainous tea plantations of Darjeeling, India and in New York City, Darjeeling is the story of two sisters - Aloka and Sujata - long separated by their love for Pranab, an idealistic young revolutionary. Pranab loves Sujata, the awkward, prickly, younger sister but, out of obligation, marries Aloka, the gracious, beautiful, older sister. When all of their secrets are revealed, the three are forced to leave Darjeeling. Aloka and Pranab flee to New York City and Sujata to Canada. The story opens ten years later, when their Grandmother summons everyone home to the family tea plantation to celebrate her birthday. Despite the fact that Aloka is still very much in love with Pranab, they are in the process of getting a divorce. Sujata, who is still single, runs a successful business importing tea, a business that doesn't fill her broken heart. This trip forces the sisters to wrestle with their bitterness and anger and to try to heal old wounds. What complicates matters is that Pranab, too, is going to India and is intent on rekindling his relationship with Sujata now that his marriage is over.
Although filled with the rich foods, smells, and social confines of another culture, Darjeeling is really about the universally human emotions of jealousy, rivalry, love, and honor. It is a complex novel about family, exile, sisterly relations, and how one incident can haunt us for the rest of our lives.
Two Westernized sisters who grew up on a tea plantation in Darjeeling waste a decade in rivalry over the same unworthy man in Kirchner's firmly grounded, workmanlike novel of Indian mores. Aloka Gupta, the elder, conventionally pretty sister, married the man, Pranab, her disgraced fianc and expert tea taster, despite the revelation of his affair with her younger sister, Sujata. The couple fled Darjeeling for the U.S. in 1992 because of threats by Aloka's outraged father, while brokenhearted Sujata was banished to British Columbia, Canada, by the family's matriarch, Nina. It is now eight years later, and the marriage has ended in divorce; Aloka is a successful journalist who writes a "Dear Seva" column for transplanted Indian immigrants in New York City, while Sujata, now called Suzy, has become a self-made tea importer. When grandmother Nina requests that the two sisters return home to celebrate her 70th birthday, their rivalry over Pranab, whose adjustment to American life has not been smooth, flares afresh. Kirchner writes most convincingly when delineating the frustrated lives of Indian immigrants in America, as evidenced through the letters Aloka receives as her alter ego, Seva. The sprawling, aromatic tea plantation in Darjeeling, in contrast, tends to be glimpsed through a gossamer nostalgia. Likewise, many of the rosy characterizations, such as that of Nina and Aloka's new boyfriend, Jahar, border on stereotype. However, Kirchner, a novelist (Shiva Dancing) and cookbook author, reveals a tremendous faith in her characters and their love of their homeland especially its food and if her portrayal of the clash between traditional and modern ways seems formulaic and sketchily handled, she does infuse her work with a genuine Indian spirit.