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Desirable Daughters (Three Sisters from Calcutta #1)

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,579 Ratings  ·  133 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 Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : Desirable Daughters - Nevisande : Bharati Mukherjee - ISBN : 786885157 - ISBN13 : 9780786885152 - Dar 320 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2002
Beata Bowen
Sep 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2009
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
Nov 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
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.
Naheed Hassan
Desirable Daughters is primarily the story of Tara Lata, one of three sisters and the namesake of an ancient grand-aunt who became a Tree Bride. The story is slow to progress and doesn't really have much of a plot. What it does do, is paint a fascinating picture of Brahmin elitist life in Calcutta, the bhadralok as they are known. We get a glimpse of a lost time, an age of protected innocence where a 'Loreto school girl' epitomized class and culture and groomed to become a good wife. The story d ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Stef Rozitis
I felt keen to learn something about Indian culture and themes, and I tried to argue myself into trying harder to connect with these charcters than I would usually do, to assume my disjunction with them might stem from a "lost in translation" experience. But no, I actually think I found them unrelatable because they were so very rich and casually/blindly privileged. For all that Tara refers to her wealth multiple time in a semi-apologetic way (and she comes across as a semi-apologetic doormat in ...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
Apr 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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,
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
it was quite good but it could have been promised a lot, great premise, good start but somewhere became is very middle-class Indian in its sensibilities and captures the typical mindset very aptly
May 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Desirable Daughters seems to cross a lot of literary lines. It doesn't quite read like fiction, but it's not obviously autobiographical, either, and the main character is often quite unlikeable or, as one of my teachers used to like to say, "Too true to be good." At times, it seemed that the author was trying to fit too many things into a single book and the reader is drowned in detail. Even the many, many family names become hard to keep track of, for non-Indian readers. I read The Autobiograph ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
A story of a badralok Kolkota family with three beautiful daughters - Brahmin, conservative and anglicised, convent school education, the 'correct' marriage etc. But times were changing rapidly and life leads the three girls along divergent paths. The story is told by Tara, the youngest, who has been divorced from her highly successful, Bengali husband and is a single mother to a young teenage son. Things and events from the past come to shake her romantic memories of the childhood years. Events ...more
Akalpita Varwandkar
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This book had an interesting plot line and I had been wanting to read it for a long time. Yet when I did, it was just okay. Maybe I expected more. Some aspects like the 'love hate' relationship between the sisters, the easy camaraderie between the exes and the confusion of 'right way to raise a child singlehanded' are very relatable yet the main crux of the story was handled terribly. The end is far outstretched and seems written to be just done with the story. Would have been nice if 'chris fac ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This could have been a better book. The author introduces a conflict originating from a family secret. The conflict has a climax, but no resolution. Grrr. The main character seems to be at peace by the end, but that's situationally temporary. I really enjoyed the Bengali subculture, the way the three sisters each expressed their strict old-fashioned upbringing, and Bish, the main character Tara's arranged marriage husband. I didn't get much of a feeling for their teenage son, but that was probab ...more
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is a very decent average book. The prose is decent. The story is decent. In about the middle of the book I thought it was going to surpass decent, but sadly that was the high point. Too many of the characters were cliches. The ending seemed tacked on, but not by a high quality tack that you know will hold something on a wall. Rather, it was as if the wall on which the author attempted to attach the ending was made of a non-sticky surface and unfortunately scotch tape, the author's choi ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
This could have been a good book, but the pacing was completely off. The writing itself wasn't terrible. Amusingly my town was featured. Good job, Montclair.
Matt Neely
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Felt somehow "dated" and too fantastic.
Smitha Murthy
Oh, this was a torture read. I had no idea what happened in this rambling tome of a book.
Sep 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sastra-sosial
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
Kelsey Keller
Oct 24, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Personally, this book was not my favorite. The way it is written leaves me confused and the whole novel is just all over the place. I would not recommend.
Linda Gaines
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved most of the novel but it got a little strange at the end. she is a good writer
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jyoti Joshi
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
When I read the Title of the Novel , I thought its a book like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, giving an account of life of three desirable daughters, more to do with finding suitable boys for them. but it turned out to be different then what I had perceived. The book begins with The beginning of the Tree brides life, its quite impressive. You kind of get drenched into it. But the story moves from it, and comes to early 90s. It follows the life of the protagonist, a women married to a big sh ...more
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
Feb 19, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Sep 26, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
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Bharati Mukherjee was an Indian-born award winning American writer who explored the internal culture clashes of her immigrant characters in the award-winning collection The Middleman and Other Stories and in novels like Jasmine and Desirable Daughters.

Ms. Mukherjee, a native of Calcutta, attended schools in England, Switzerland and India, earned advanced degrees in creative writing in the United S
More about Bharati Mukherjee

Other books in the series

Three Sisters from Calcutta (3 books)
  • The Tree Bride
  • Miss New India

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“One time you mentioned the loneliness inside of marriage and I did not understand what you were saying. Two people are together; they have come from the same place; they share the same values, the same language. Practically speaking, they are the two halves of one consciousness. They eat the same food; they have a child; they sleep in the same bed, how can they be lonely.” 16 likes
“The divorced Indian lady combines every fantasy about the liberated, wicked Western woman with the safety net of basic submissive familiarity.” 4 likes
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