The author of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows her acclaimed America debut with this life-affirming, witty family drama—an Indian This Is Where I Leave You—about three Punjabi sisters embarking on a pilgrimage to their homeland to lay their mother to rest.
The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina—were never close and barely got along growing up, and now as adults, have grown even further apart. Rajni, a school principal is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a thirty-year-old struggling actress, fears her big break may never come. Shirina, the peacemaking "good" sister married into wealth and enjoys a picture-perfect life.
On her deathbed, their mother voices one last wish: that her daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. After a trip to India with her mother long ago, Rajni vowed never to return. But she’s always been a dutiful daughter, and cannot, even now, refuse her mother’s request. Jezmeen has just been publicly fired from her television job, so the trip to India is a welcome break to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career. Shirina’s in-laws are pushing her to make a pivotal decision about her married life; time away will help her decide whether to meekly obey, or to bravely stand up for herself for the first time.
Arriving in India, these sisters will make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives—and learn the real story behind the trip Rajni took with their Mother long ago—a momentous journey that resulted in Mum never being able to return to India again.
The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a female take on the Indian travel narrative. "I was curious about how different the trip would be if it were undertaken by women, who are vulnerable to different dangers in a male-dominated society," Balli Kaur Jaswal writes. "I also wanted to explore the tensions between tradition and modernity in immigrant communities, and particularly how those tensions play out among women like these sisters, who are the first generation to be raised outside of India."
Powerful, emotionally evocative, and wonderfully atmospheric, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a charming and thoughtful story that illuminates the bonds of family, sisterhood, and heritage that tether us despite our differences. Funny and heartbreaking, it is a reminder of the truly important things we must treasure in our lives.
Jaswal's witty, emotional second novel (after Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows) is a heartfelt story of three sisters agreeing to the wishes of their deceased mother. The Shergill sisters Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina travel to India to embark on a Sikh pilgrimage and scatter their mother's ashes. The sisters have never been close, and are quite distant now. Both Rajni, a school principal, and Jezmeen, a struggling actress, live in the U.K. Shirina moved to Australia, where she lives with her husband, Sehaj, and his controlling mother. Their journey in India is filled with bickering between Rajni and Jezmeen over Jezmeen's clothing choices, while Rajni and Jezmeen express concern over Shirina and her limited participation in the trip. As the three women view the splendor of some of the Sikh temples of India, the bond of sisterhood becomes stronger. When Rajni and Jezmeen sense that Shirina is in trouble, they are able to look past their own problems to come to her aid. Jaswal reveals much about the sisters' personalities through the use of flashbacks, explaining how previous events shaped their lives. Teen and adult fans of women's fiction will find much to appreciate here.
Feel good story
This was a great feel good story, very realistic trial and tribulations that sisters have especially after a childhood of living together with misconceptions and sibling rivalry brewing under the surface- I appreciate that the love for each other can be realized as adults. A book about family traditions surviving modern day life and adaptations we make as adults. This is a book for women and overcoming society expectations-inspirational!