Desirable Daughters
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Desirable Daughters

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  1,012 ratings  ·  94 reviews
In the tradition of the Joy Luck Club, Bharati Mukherjee has written a remarkable novel that is both the portrait of a traditional Brahmin Indian family and a contemporary American story of a woman who has in many ways broken with tradition but still remains tied to her native country.

Mukherjee follows the diverging paths taken by three extraordinary Calcutta-born sisters

Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 12th 2003 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2002)
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Why I picked this book up, I couldn't tell you, but after getting through the first portions, it seemed to pick up steam and I liked it more than I would have thought. I enjoyed the gossipy commentary on family and immigrant life, especially on ones who went against the prescribed grain of Indian expectations, but never so far away that there was a total loss of identity. The book is about uncovered truths---ones hidden, others buried deep inside, some menacing, and of gradual uncovering. Some o...more
This book had me at the first page. I consider myself to be one with my culture, so when this book came as a recommendation I immediately got into it.

What Mukherjee did was to transpose values of old into her story to create a perspective that went deeper than the words on her pages. She hit on some pertinent aspects of Indian culture and provided the consequences of what would happen when questions go unanswered.

The story is a tale of three sisters, whose lives, though separate and different,...more
Beata Bowen
As fascinating as I find the Indian subcontinent and as much as I want to learn the differences between the cultures, languages and religions of India, reading this book was mostly just frustrating.

Not sure if it's just the fact that the book focuses on the woes of the Bengali elite (ouch, my gold necklace is so heavy, I think I'm developing scoliosis!) or that the heroine of the story never manages to grow a spine (and yet she's suppose to be this independent, modern woman!) or all these surro...more
Kisah dimulai dgn acara pernikahan Tara Lata gadis kecil berusia 5 tahun yg akan dinikahkan dgn seorg pria muda berumur 13 thn.Kemegahan upacara menjd hancur saat kapal yg ditumpangi mempelai pria batal mendarat krn sang mempelai telah dijemput maut melalui gigitan ular dikapal yg ditumpangi.Ternyata upacara pernikahan di India saat itu jg hrs diiringi doa2 agar mempelai tdk dipatuk ular yg dianggap sbg penjelmaan dewi Manasha,penguasa ular kobra diBenggala Timur.Dia akan selalu menemukan cara u...more
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The beginning of the book was no where near intriguing honestly have no idea what the introduction had any symbolic connection to the rest of the book it was like a waste of a chapter. The middle was a bit interesting except when she flew into details and I totally lost my focus, and the words aren't clear with whats going on and whats happening. I didn't like how they were trying to assimilate into America they made it seem impossible like they did not belong and I must say that is sooooo untru...more
Another fascinating novel involving the lives of immigrants to the US. In this case, 3 daughters grew up in Calcutta where their beauty was praised and where they attended excellent schools. Years later, the youngest is a divorced single mother in CA whose life changes drastically when a conman approaches her and proves to be very dangerous. The exciting plot keeps leaping ahead while one also learns about different ways of thinking for Indians. A terrific book.
Sundarraj Kaushik
On the face of it, it appears to be another finding the roots book, but in actuality it is a book about the lives of three girls from the bhadralok of Calcutta. The book describes how the life of the three girls, brought up in a traditional Bengali Brahmin life style, but sent to a convent school for their education turns out to be completely different from each other.
Each one is trying to hide the truth from the other as a result of the upbringing which sees many of the things they desire and h...more
This book was annoying to read. I kept waiting for some sort of climax or turning point and was disappointed. I really didn't even like the main character I found her annoying and odd.
It's an interesting book. Sometimes I felt like an outsider - not getting the in jokes, as I am neither Bengali, nor even Indian. I felt that some parts in the beginning were more drawn out, and then the action sped up and then fell away again, as though one rides through countryside, to a small town that you pass through quickly and then fades into long unchanging countryside again.

I did not feel I could relate well to the main character because while I believe she was as honest as she could be...more
Desirable daughters by Bharati Mukherjee is a story of three sisters from an upper class Brahmin Calcutta family, Padma, Parvati and Tara born on the same date three years apart from each other. They are convent educated, beautiful, intelligent and wealthy.

The book starts with a chapter about Tara Lata who became a tree bride in 1879, stayed at her father's house and cared for the poor, sick and later the Indian freedom fighters and dies for the cause.

Padma, the eldest, stays in New Jersey with...more
Bharati Mukeherjee
Penerjemah : Anton Kurnia
Penyunting : Rahmat Widada
Penerbit : Bentang
Cetakan : Cetakan Pertama, Agustus 2008
Halaman : 442 halaman

Cerita dalam novel ini diawali dengan kisah (legenda) tentang Pengantin Pohon, bernama Tara Lata Gongooly. Dan (sepertinya) oleh orang tuanya Sang Narrator dinamakan sesuai dengan nama nenek moyangnya itu, Tara Chatterjee. Tara adalah bungsu dari tiga bersaudara; Padma, Parvati dan Tara yang terkenal di Calcutta karena selain rupa m...more
I have previously read "Wife" and "Jasmine" by the same author. All three books are concerned with the same subject: Living between two worlds, but not being at home in either of them.

If "Wife" and "Jasmine" were about the recent immigrant to the United States trying to assimilate, then "Desirable Daughters" is about an immigrant who found success and the American Dream, but feels that she has lost something irreplaceable in the pursuit of that desire.

The heroines of all these books are extraor...more
I read this book on a recommendation from a friend who knows how much I love Asian literature. But, even though I'm not an Indian fiction novice, I still found myself on the outskirts of this very private Brahmin lifestyle described by the author. I'm not sure if it's because of the affinity towards poetry by the main character's caste, but I found details a little fuzzy around the edges - like a cloud you're trying to make the shape of, or a wave you see approaching the shore that's definitely...more
I gave this book two stars because there were like 40 pages towards the end that were really interesting and worth reading. The rest of it....I don't know what to say. I found the protagonist neither likable nor relatable. The author spent what seemed like EONS on the protagonist's feelings about things that eventually meant basically nothing in the plot. It seemed like nothing was connected. Nothing fit together. There didn't seem to be an overall message. Every time I could ALMOST detect a the...more
This book is sorta bizarre with all of its subplots and unconventional characters. Part of me thinks that there was just too much going on, and then another part of me kinda enjoyed that. I started this book expecting it to be another cultural/generational gap, traditional expectations not met kind of book. It definitely has those elements in it, but there's so much more. Bombay gangs and people who may or may not be who they say they are! I guess my only complaint is that , with so much going o...more
This story is about three affluent Indian sisters. Two live in America and the other lives in a very wealthy coastal community in India. A secret from one of the sister's past is revealed and it shatters the superficial relationships they have with each other.
This book could have benefited from some footnotes to help the various references to Indian words. While the book gives a glimpse into what it's like to be an upper caste Indian in America, it doesn't delve too deeply into issues of cultur...more
I had high hopes for this book based on the cover summary, but was disappointed. I agree with other confused reviews on this site. Just too much going on in this plot, and none of it really comes together. So many story lines are started, but I felt like none of them were ever finished. After all that reading, I don't know what happened to most of the story lines. The author seems to make the story cyclical, returning full circle to where it started, but there are a lot of missing pieces, so tha...more
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I gave it over 100 pages to improve and grab me, but alas, I finally had to quit. I simply could not get into the story, despite interesting tidbits here and there.
Barbara Lopez
Although I quite liked this book (after a rocky beginning), it did not live up to my expectations. As a small window into familial Indian relationships it was informative. Nevertheless, nothing was truly explained, we never know precisely what happens or why. Apparently the whole logic behind the book was to explore, in a rather meandering way, Indian inter-relationships and experiences, including those of immigration and how many choose to deal with being in a new country - whether embracing or...more
Very intriguing story of 3 sisters and their disparate choices in life. A huge treatise on Indian culture. First time to read this author. Great character development.
The book is great at describing the Indian caste system, with its many ingrained and much accepted prejudices, and talks a lot about the politics of Indian culture. Because of this, however, the story line is fragmented and weak. I found myself becoming bored by the author's monotonous and rather unnecessary descriptions of events and places, and lack of depth at the story line. It left open holes and unanswered questions. It was an interesting look into Indian high society/caste, but otherwise...more
Fiona Robinson
An interesting story, and a good read, it was also a bit of a disappointment. I have very high expectations of Indian writers, having read so many truly excellent books by them. So Mukherjee's style left me a bit unsatisfied, I just didn't quite get the connection with the characters and the place that I was hoping for. The story is a compelling one, but somehow its telling didn't engage me. I believe it is part of a trilogy, and I would be interested in reading the other 2, but they're not at t...more
This was a tough one, as some of this author's books can be, but somewhere between the lines is a somber, poetic story. This one features an Indian woman divorced from her Indian Silicon Valley genius husband who confronts a family secret that tries its best to remain hidden. I don't feel I got much closure, but I got the gist of the story. Not a bad read if you have nothing to read, but wouldn't recommend. The author flounders too much between the story and the past, making it difficult to foll...more
Never got past page 112. Way too many plot lines and the story drags. The protag's world is supposed to be shaken up by a sudden revelation, but I get no sense of urgency from her. I tried to skim ahead, and see if there's anything of interest, a storyline that stands out. Instead, there's a jumble of events and the plot pretty much sizzles out. There were bits and parts that felt as if they'd work as women's fiction, but together, everything just doesn't work.
I enjoyed learning about Bengali culture in both India and in the United States and also was entertained by the mystery aspect of the book. It got a little slow and draggy for me at the end, but after finishing the book, I've decided the author intended the mood of the book to slow pace a little in order to set the stage for the final moments of the book. As for my rating, PG. There are a few references to adult relationships and some swear words.
Ugh. I find Bharati Mukerjee's voice to be inauthentic and a little pretentious. As a second-generation Indian-American, I wanted to laugh out loud when she tried to get into the head of an immigrant's child that grew up in the US. I keep getting that sense from her that everything Indian is negative, especially the men, and that she is a bit of a snob. After reading this, I found it difficult to read any more of her books.
Holly Bond
I cannot say I remember much about this book, which might be information... ;)

What I do remember is how long the author would go on about how beautiful Bengali women are and while I'm sure that's quite true, it got to be too much.

Yeah, that's all I really remember about it. That's probably not a good sign. But, since I can't really remember thinking "this is rubbish!" I gave it 3 stars just to be equitable. :)
I love learning about other cultures and this book provided an insight to arranged marriages. The culture in India is vastly different from how I grew up and it was a little difficult to relate to their family dynamics, especially because I am an only child. Nonetheless, I enjoyed getting a glimpse into this Eastern culture. Other books I've enjoyed about India include Madras on Rainy Days and Sister of My Heart.
I've read most of Mukherjee's work, and this novel is a stand-out in her career. It's engaging from the start, and the descriptions are lush, almost lyrical. It's incredibly interesting--imperialism, East India Trading, British egos feeding off everything and everyone they can across the world from home. I was fascinated by this novel, and pleased to see Mukherjee is only getting better!
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Bharati Mukherjee is an award-winning Indian born American writer. She is currently a professor in the department of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

More about Bharati Mukherjee...
Jasmine Miss New India The Middleman and Other Stories The Holder of the World The Tree Bride

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