before we visit the goddess (2016)
THE NEW BESTSELLER FROM AWARD-WINNING CHITRA DIVAKARUNI, NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK IN USA AND INDIA.
The daughter of a poor sweet-maker in rural Bengal, India, Sabitri yearns to get an education. However, her family’s situation makes college an impossible dream. Then an influential woman from Kolkata takes Sabitri under her wing, but her generosity curdles after a single, unforgiveable misstep. Years later, Sabitri’s daughter, Bela, haunted by her mother’s choices, flees to America with her political refugee lover, only to find the country—and love—vastly different from her imaginings. Forced to forge her own path, Bela unwittingly imprints her own child, Tara, with dangerous lessons about adulthood that will take a lifetime to unlearn.
In her latest novel, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni explores the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the different kinds of love that bind us across generations. Before We Visit the Goddess captures the gorgeous complexity of these multi-generational and transcontinental bonds, sweeping across the twentieth century from the countryside of Bengal, India, to the streets of Houston, Texas—an extraordinary journey told through a sparkling symphony of male and female voices.
READ an excerpt.
BOOK CLUBS: A Reading Guide is available here. Chitra is available to do online/video chats with book clubs as time permits. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Praise for BEFORE WE VISIT THE GODDESS
"Tender, bittersweet, beautifully wrought tales about love and longing, exile and loneliness." -- Amitabh Ghosh, author of The Glass Palace and Sea of Poppies.
"I will never forget Sabitri, Bela, and Tara: grandmother, mother, and daughter after my own heart. A lovely book." -- Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior and China Men.
"Balances the ache of separation with the thrills of independence and self-discovery. . . .[Divakaruni's] characteristic passion, nerve and insight into the troubled soul are here in full. ” — The Wall Street Journal
“Before We Visit the Goddess is universal—a story of mothers and daughters, misunderstanding and sacrifice, success and independence. . . . [A] sweet, piercing blend that—like sugar, fruit and saffron—forms a dazzling, memorable novel.” —Houston Chronicle
“ The always enchanting and enlightening Divakaruni spins another silken yet tensile saga about the lives of women in India and as immigrants in America…Divakaruni’s gracefully insightful, dazzlingly descriptive, and covertly stinging tale illuminates the opposition women must confront, generation by generation, as they seek both independence and connection. ” — Booklist Starred Review
“An heirloom tapestry.” —Miami Herald