One Amazing Thing (Paperback)
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
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.
"Divakaruni is a brilliant storyteller; she illuminates the world with her artistry; and shakes the reader with her love."