One Amazing Thing (Paperback)

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Summer '11 Reading Group List


“Nine people are trapped in the Indian consulate's visa office after a devastating earthquake. As they start to melt down emotionally, Uma, a grad student, suggests they each tell a story about one thing in their lives. The stories they tell are incredible, and you will feel as though you have known and understand each character as they wait for rescue or death. An amazing read.”
— cinda meister, Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA

March 2010 Indie Next List


“Nine people are trapped in the Indian consulate's visa office after a devastating earthquake. As they start to melt down emotionally, Uma, a grad student, suggests they each tell a story about one thing in their lives. The stories they tell are incredible, and you will feel as though you have known and understand each character as they wait for rescue or death. An Amazing read.”
— Cinda Meister, Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA

Description


An acclaimed novel by the author of The Mistress of Spices, and Before We Visit the Goddess. Jhumpa Lahiri praises: "One Amazing Thing collapses the walls dividing characters and cultures; what endures is a chorus of voices in one single room."

Late afternoon sun sneaks through the windows of a passport and visa office in an unnamed American city. Most customers and even most office workers have come and gone, but nine people remain. A punky teenager with an unexpected gift. An upper-class Caucasian couple whose relationship is disintegrating. A young Muslim-American man struggling with the fallout of 9/11. A graduate student haunted by a question about love. An African-American ex-soldier searching for redemption. A Chinese grandmother with a secret past. And two visa office workers on the verge of an adulterous affair.

When an earthquake rips through the afternoon lull, trapping these nine characters together, their focus first jolts to their collective struggle to survive. There's little food. The office begins to flood. Then, at a moment when the psychological and emotional stress seems nearly too much for them to bear, the young graduate student suggests that each tell a personal tale, "one amazing thing" from their lives, which they have never told anyone before. And as their surprising stories of romance, marriage, family, political upheaval, and self-discovery unfold against the urgency of their life-or-death circumstances, the novel proves the transcendent power of stories and the meaningfulness of human expression itself. From Chitra Divakaruni, author of such finely wrought, bestselling novels as Sister of My Heart, The Palace of Illusions, and The Mistress of Spices, comes her most compelling and transporting story to date. One Amazing Thing is a passionate creation about survival--and about the reasons to survive.

About the Author


Chitra Divakaruni is an award-winning and bestselling novelist and poet. She is the author of 14 books in all, including the short story collection The Unknown Errors of Our Lives and the novels Sister of My Heart, The Mistress of Spices, Queen of Dreams, and The Palace of Illusions. Two of her novels have been made into movies. Her writings have appeared in more than 50 magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. She has also become a frequently sought-after op-ed and NPR commentator regarding how the West perceives Southeast Asia.

Praise For…


"One Amazing Thing collapses the walls dividing characters and cultures; what endures is a chorus of voices in one single room."—Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake

"Chitra Divakaruni understands the power of stories to heal us, make us laugh, and comfort us in the most difficult of circumstances. One Amazing Thing is one powerful and beautifully written book. I loved it, and I'm sure that readers everywhere will embrace it too."—Lisa See, author of Shanghai Girls

"Ingeniously conceived and intelligently written, this novel is a fable for our time. The characters, troubled or shattered by their past, vibrate with life whenever they begin to speak. The book is a fun read from the first page to the last."—Ha Jin, author of A Free Life and the National Book Award-winning Waiting

"Divakaruni is a brilliant storyteller; she illuminates the world with her artistry; and shakes the reader with her love."—Junot Diaz

"An incredible and highly original premise in the hands of a gifted storyteller has resulted in this jewel of a story. It is, to paraphrase the book's title, an amazing thing."—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

"Early on I realized that Chitra was throwing a plot at me! An irresistible plot where a mini-UN of interesting people get trapped by a disaster and each must come up with a story. Oh no! Oh yes! I was up very late. I read straight through because this is the sort of book that pulls you along. Divakaruni is so adept with her characterizations. She has a light touch with people. She is a careful, evocative writer. I wanted to be any of the several beauty salons described so lovingly. I wanted to eat the bits of food described with such delicacy. Chitra Divakaruni has written 14 books and they just keep getting better. I think I enjoyed this one the most. ... I still admire this line from One Amazing Thing, She ignored Uma superbly, as people do when faced with those those abject destinies they control.' Haven't we all been ignored superbly? How I hate it when my abject destiny is controlled by others."—Louise Erdrich, author of The Plague of Doves
Product Details
ISBN: 9781401341589
ISBN-10: 1401341586
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: December 21st, 2010
Pages: 240
Language: English