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One Amazing Thing

One Amazing Thing
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Hyperion Books
Publish date: 2010-02-02
$23.99
Hardcover

Review:

Told from many points of view, One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni illustrates how certain events weave people's lives together in unexpected ways. Nine people are conducting their own business in an Indian visa and passport office when an earthquake hits. They find themselves with minor injuries trapped inside a small room. Very limited food, water, and oxygen are available to them. At first, the expected tension arises. Panic takes over their actions; the fear of death causes them to conduct themselves in ways they would not under normal circumstances. They turn to questioning their relationships, their religion, their government. Violence breaks out between three of the people, causing much physical and mental stress for everyone.

Uma, a graduate student, disgusted with the group's actions, decides that they need to conduct themselves better. She figures that one way to do this is "to focus their minds on something compelling." She decides that they can each tell a story of one amazing thing that happened to them during their lives. At first the group is hesitant; however, they oblige, and become more enthusiastic as it begins. The stories bring the reader to an Indian beauty parlor, a forbidden love, an attempt at suicide, a young boy's love for a kitten, a girl's passion for music, a Muslim's experience after 9/11, and more.

The stories bind the group together as the situation around them worsens. One Amazing Thing demonstrates how people can give each other hope in the worst circumstances. A story of survival and friendship, Divakaruni's novel is wonderfully crafted and a worthwhile read.

   
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