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Sharmila's Book

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  110 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Born and raised in Chicago's Indian community, Sharmila Sen is a thirty-something artist, American in every respect but nonetheless longing for a deeper connection to her Indian heritage. Unlucky in love, Sharmila finally consents to follow the traditional path of arranged marriage and her mother soon finds Raj Khosla -- a handsome and successful New Delhi businessman -- f ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2000 by Plume (first published 1999)
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Ugh. After reading Bharti Kirchner's illuminating book, Sharmila's Book, I was left with the strange sensation of having swallowed an insect that flapped its wings in my brain, rap rap rap, tap tap tap, and I was left screaming with a dire brain disorder. Ugh. Rare this year that I have come across as bad a book as Sharmila's Book.

I am not usually this scathing. I am a lazy writer myself, who understands the pain of writing - but after reading this book, I understood the pain of reading too. The
Jun 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Sharmila is a character caught between her heritage and her life--one foot in India and one solidly in her Chicago career. Fed up to the proverbial "here" with the American dating game, she surrenders the question of marriage to tradition and asks her parents to find her a suitable match.

I almost didn't care what the plot was--Kirchner has done a stunning job of portraying the balancing act that is a multicultural identity. The tension between family expectations and American independence, betwe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Rogers
Nov 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
A friend of mine from India lent me this book. I was fully expecting it to be as maturely written as one by Monica Ali or Jhumpa Lahiri but I was terribly letdown. The book is predictable, the characters unbelievable. The writer spends a great deal of our time educating us about Indian culture, the scenery of New Delhi, so that we feel we move from fiction to nonfiction. The book is almost childish.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
I could sometimes hear the plot machinery creaking, but mostly enjoyed this book - following Sharmila from Chicago to Delhi in pursuit of happiness through an arranged marriage. Lots of FOOD in this book, which I appreciated, as well as a mild murder mystery along with the love story. Really good August book.
Jun 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Most of the Indian books I've read are written from a teenager's perspective, so this book was a pleasant shift for me. Kirchner turns phrases beautifully and brings out aspects of her characters that you wouldn't expect. There was much tension in the book around decision making, from arranged marriage to deciding what you're willing to compromise in your life.
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it
I loved the vivid descriptions of Indian life and customs but found several aspects of the plot to be rather far-fetched. Of the many books I've read about Indian women and family life, this is a rarity in that it's about a current generation rather than a couple of generations ago, which I found refreshing.
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
The descriptions of India are intense; the author writes poetically about the sights, smells and sounds of Delhi. The story is less interesting; the foreshadowing is as subtle as a 2x4 across the head.
Michelle Cristiani
Oct 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great character development, great unfolding plot. I learned more about India through the story, and it made me want to learn more about a culture I never thought much about before. My favorites are books that educate while the plot thickens.
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Bharti Kirchner is the author of eleven books—seven critically acclaimed novels and four cookbooks and hundreds of short pieces for magazines and newspapers. A recent novel, Goddess of Fire, was shortlisted for the Nancy Pearl Award.

Her earlier novels include Tulip Season, Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries, Darjeeling, Sharmila’s Book, and Shiva Dancing.

Bharti has written for Food &a
More about Bharti Kirchner...