Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Oleander Girl” as Want to Read:
Oleander Girl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Oleander Girl

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  2,181 ratings  ·  383 reviews
From the bestselling author of One Amazing Thing, a sweeping, suspenseful, atmospheric coming-of-age novel about a young woman who leaves India for America on a search that will transform her life.

Beloved by critics and readers, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has been hailed by Junot Díaz as a “brilliant storyteller” and by People magazine as a “skilled cartographer of the hea
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by Free Press
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Oleander Girl, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Oleander Girl

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
There was a phase in my life when I would only read Indian authors. I was an international student in London and I guess read Indian authors was how I dealt with the constant ache for home at that time. It was during this time that I read the book sister of my heart and fell in love with Chitra's style of storytelling. I have read most of her works after that. I won a copy of the oleander girl. I was mildly surprised and very excited to get the book.

The story is amazing and doesn't disappoint y
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni returns to her home turf Kolkata with this book and she creates the city, characters and story beautifully in her book.

Oleander girl has mystery, romance, family, history, heritage, emotions, business, politics and scandal but what it has the most is the magic of Chitra Banerjee. The feelings reach a different level when she explains the love, the fights, the misunderstandings, and the understandings between two lovers. Love becomes eternal, beautiful and growing in h
Oleander Girl started off slow, but it improved. I didn't entirely buy into Korobi and Rajat's romance to begin with. It seemed very Tess of the d'Urbervilles-ish, with Rajat especially loving Korobi in part because of the environment and heritage from which he thought she came. We saw in Hardy that this doesn't work out well, but Divakaruni's novel is not Hardy's, so things turn out a bit differently in this case. At other times, the story seemed very cliche. Girl goes off right before marriage ...more
Kelly Hager
Brief review---sorry. This is one of those books that is best served where the surprises are as unspoiled as possible.

I absolutely loved this book. I haven't read many of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's books (this is my second of hers) but I want to find her entire backlist.

I think what struck me most about this book is how easy it is to take for granted the idea of knowing where you come from. Korobi thought she did, even though her parents are dead. And once she learned that her entire life was
The story of an orphaned girl, Korobi, raised by her grandparents and her quest for her father. A breezy read.

For me, this was mostly because it got me very nostalgic about my own childhood, when my grandparents were my security, my world. Things like names given to specific gold ornaments reminded me so much of my own grandmother who lived all her youth in Kolkata.
Oleander refers to the flower called Korobi in Bengali. That the flower is beautiful and strong like the central character, is a s
I liked this book, but I didn't LOVE it like I do so many of this author's other books. The story starts out in a great way as we are introduced to Korobi, named after the Oleander flower which is both beautiful and poisonous and learn of her life in fairly modern day Kolkata where she is being raised by her grandparents since the death of her mother after childbirth. There is a mystery surrounding her birth and there seems to be a promising story ready to unfold on the horizon. But the story do ...more
Esther Bradley-detally
Lovely book, oops almost sounds like nice; but it's more than lovely, it's gently but firmly compelling and it's fascinating to see the old ways of India and modernism fuse within its lead character. I read a lot of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and with Oleander Girl, I sat down early evening, and didn't get up until I finished it. Oh my.
Feb 26, 2014 Book'd rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Book'd by: Book'd
Shelves: 2013, indian-lit
To begin with, I'd like to thank Hitesh for introducing me to another awesome writer.

It has been on my to-do list for this year to read a lot of Indian literature and explore more of Indian writers. Chitra Banerjee is one of those few writers who has a most stunning style of writing and I most willingly wait to read more of her books.

The story revolves around Korobi, a seventeen year old, beautiful girl, who loses her mother right after her birth with no news about her father except to believe
Kathy Dhanda
Predictable and highly chaotic. Have loved Divakurni's previous books but this one was sub-par. Too many themes crowded into a book that resulted in a hodge podge of issues that were resolved in a rather simplistic way. The main character is Korobi, an orphan, being raised by her grandparents in Kolkata. She meets Rajat, the son of affluent business family. So far, so good. Then the plot unravels as Korobi finds about her missing father and decides to find him.
If Divakurni had focused on a few i
Casee Marie
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Oleander Girl tells the story of Korobi Roy, a strong-willed and spirited young woman who, despite the deaths of her parents when she was an infant, has known privilege with her grandparents amid their sprawling house in Kolkata. Much to the delight of her grandparents, Korobi has found love with the doting but elusive Rajat Bose and will soon marry into a family among the upper echelons of society. Still, in the face of all her life’s joy Korobi is listless; she lon ...more
Beautiful story. If you have read any of Divakaruni's books, run, don't walk to get this one. I tried so hard to pace myself but finished it in three days. The story inspires strength, exploration, family closeness, and is another peak into cultures and lives of Indian families. Loved it.

Divakaruni has penned a coming-of- age tale of Korobi Roy, whose mother died in childbirth. She was reared by her devoted, but traditional Hindu grandparents. The novel opens with the newly engaged young lady seeking information about her parents’ mystifying relationship and deaths. She had learned while quite young that she must not confront these issues. The chain of events which ensues leads her to 9/11 America, but I will not introduce spoilers here.

After reading her, One Amazing Thing , I
Smita Beohar
Set in Kolkata the book charts the journey of Korobi, a girl whom everyone would want to protect with their lives. With her marriage fixed to Kolkata’s most eligible bachelor her life was set, so she thought. But when her grandfather passes away on her engagement night her life comes to a standstill. She drowns herself in sorrow only to be jolted out by a truth which changes her life.

Rajat loves Korobi to death but his past in the form of his persistent Ex-girlfriend Sonia is something that he h
Ranga Chilakamarri
Due to increased awareness of India and her people, books by Indo-anglian writers are more popular now than ever. Due to this, many such writers have adjusted their writing to suit foreign readers sometimes compromising the integrity of the story being told. Fortunately, the author of Oleander Girl stays true to her plot and characters throughout the book. I particularly liked this.
All in all, this book tells a simple straightforward story of of the protagonist Korobi and her fiancé Rajat with
I must confess--I *love* all things Divakarunai. I'm captivated by her writing style which is a marriage of simple, effective language, rich imagery and excellent characterization. So when I learnt that her latest book was out, I wasted no time in buying it. I'm so glad I did, because I wasn't disappointed. In fact, despite certain flaws that I found with the plot, this is one of Divakarunai's best.

What I loved most about this book are the depth of the relationships. We learnt in literature cla
Disclaimer: I listened to an audiobook of Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Which isn't the best way to absorb a book when it's filled with multiple secondary characters, all who want to have a voice, in a book which switches voices in alternating chapters. As such, the beginning was slow for me and I was about 20 percent into listening before the storyline started to grab my attention. (Oh maybe I was just nosey and the story didn't capture my attention until the secret was revealed ...more
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an author I admire, particularly as her novels deal with Indian women and their multiple roles/identities. And in many of her books she explores issues of identity vis-a-vis the immigrant's experience.

Oleander Girl is the coming of age story of 18 year old Korobi (who is named after the beautiful but poisonous oleander) who finds out that the loving grandparents who have raised her after her parents' death have betrayed her trust by hiding the truth about her paren
Rachel Hammond
The first chapter of Oleander Girl starts as 17-year-old Korabi wakes up from a watery dream. She sees a visage of her deceased mother in the room, and receives a mysterious message about searching for something across the ocean. There is no time for her to decipher the dream, as the next day she is to celebrate her engagement to Rajat, the son of a prestigious family in Kolkata, India. The marriage would not only bring together two people who are very much in love, but it will also unite a trad ...more
I am a huge fan of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni so was happy to grab this book when it became available at the library. I was not disappointed. Ms. Divakaruni tells a gripping tale in beautiful language. In Korobi's story you can feel her desire to know more about her parents, the love she has for her grandparents, her fiance, and her in-laws-to-be, and her bewilderment at some of the situations she confronts in America. You can see her becoming stronger as the book goes on. Besides Korobi, there ...more
The story centres around Korobi Roy, who is an orphan who never knew her parents and was raised by her grandparents in a small city in India. Right before she is to marry, she discovers information about her parents that had been withheld from her and she sets out to find out more about her mother, and the father that she now realizes may still be alive in America. Her journey leads her to new experiences that make her question some of the basic traditions, truths and expectations that she has g ...more
I was completely entranced by this book- the details, the story, the situations- it takes you into a different world, a world of customs, traditions and the good old indian way of life. Being an indian born and brought up in the U.S., I related to several aspects of Korobi's personality, and understood her obligations and promises- what was most captivating about the story is the way it was told. Each characters point of view is brought into light- nothing is one sided. As a result, you are give ...more
Reader's Paradise

What a wonderful read...

Seventeen-year old Korobi Roy (named after a variety of Oleander), though orphaned at birth, has always known the love of her grandparents. Her life is filled with tradition and the stability of India and time. Yet Korobi feels something is missing. But when she discovers a note from her mother to her dead father, it sparks a yearning for love that is overwhelming.

This was the first time I have seen India captured so beautiful, the imagery and character development kept
If you're a regular follower of my reviews, you know that I have a special place in my heart for India. I'm intrigued by Indian culture and jump at the chance to read most any novel set in India or with Indian characters. Oleander Girl did not disappoint.

One of the conflicts Korobi faces is the clash between her traditional family and her fiancé Rajat's modern family. Korobi is caught in the middle, not sure where she fits in. Most of the Indian books I've read in the past focus on traditional I
Opening with an erotic dream, followed shortly by a ghostly visitation, Oleander Girl had me worried about what I was getting into for the first couple of pages, but it isn't the fluffy book you might expect from its first two scenes. Set in Kolkata in the early 2000s, Oleander Girl looks at race, class, and gender concerns in India and in post-9/11 America as its main character, Korobi Roy - orphaned at birth and raised by her grandparents - prepares to be married but then drops everything and ...more
I love stories about India. I love coming of age stories. I love rich and luscious tales that take you somewhere you wouldn't otherwise go. This book contained all of that and more.

See the rest of this review here: http://therelentlessreader.blogspot.c...
Lynn G.
Everyone in Oleander Girl keeps secrets, large and small. The repercussions of the biggest secret send Korobi by herself on a quest from Kolkata, India, where she has been raised in an overly protective environment by equally protective grandparents, to America on her own where she is unprepared for the people she meets, their reactions to her efforts, and the strength she ultimately finds to proclaim who she is.

Families are unraveling from the stress of their myriad secrets. Reputations are on
The novel begins with a mystical moment that will take the reader on Korobi’s difficult journey in search of her heritage. Her mother died in childbirth, and she was subsequently raised by her grandparents. On the evening before her official engagement to her true love, Rajat, she has a dream and a vision about her mother whom she has never met. On the evening of the celebration, a tragedy occurs which alters her views on her future and her past.
Although the characters were described in a somewh
Apr 29, 2013 Mona rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: india
The jerkiness back and forth between characters didn't sit well as i read this book by one of my favorite authors of Indian stories. There were so many names along with nicknames to keep track of that i found myself caring less and less for who was whom in the shifting storyline. The compelling yet convoluted story was fret with personal problems needing to be solved. And solved they all were in a tidy package by the last happy page. There were many tangents with money and love problems paramoun ...more
Deepa Agarwal

If the young are brave and committed, life will reward them with knowledge. In Oleander Girl, seventeen-year-old Korobi uncovers many truths, palatable and unpalatable, in the course of her quest to find the father who remained a mystery. She learns the hard way—as most of us do, to judge between true and false and comes to terms with the ground realities of human existence.
Korobi’s story takes hold of you right from the haunting opening paragraph. Her voyage is itself extraordinary, in the sen
The Book Maven
Korobi, a young woman descended from a highly respected Bengali Indian family, has led a sheltered life, raised by her traditional, loving grandparents. Now she is 18 and appears to know exactly what her future holds: she is about to marry Raj, the son of wealthy, up-and-coming Indians who accept and love Korobi. What more could she want? But when her grandfather dies unexpectedly, certain unpleasant truths emerge: the money is all gone, and what’s more, Korobi’s father is not nearly as dead she ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Abundance
  • As Sweet as Honey
  • First Darling of the Morning: Selected Memories of an Indian Childhood
  • In the Convent of Little Flowers
  • Desirable Daughters
  • The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (Vish Puri, #3)
  • Teatime for the Firefly
  • The Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories
  • On Sal Mal Lane
  • The Mango Season
  • Mistress
  • The Sari Shop
  • Everything Was Good-bye
  • The Full Moon Bride
  • Haunting Bombay
  • An Atlas of Impossible Longing
  • The Edge of the Earth
  • The Girl in the Garden
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 20 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese.Her newest novel is Oleander Girl (Simon and Schuster, 2013) http: ...more
More about Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni...
Sister of My Heart (Anju and Sudha, #1) The Palace of Illusions The Mistress of Spices One Amazing Thing Arranged Marriage: Stories

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Sometimes -- she knows this from her own life -- to get to the other side, you must travel through grief. No detours are possible.” 11 likes
“May your heart be mine, may my heart be yours. May your sorrows be mine, may my joys be yours.” 7 likes
More quotes…