Reading List: Before We Visit The Goddess

Reading List: Before We Visit The Goddess

I always want to read more than I can, and I get that feeling again when I see a book such as Before We Visit The Goddess. What I mean is, that I’d love to read linked short stories from all over the world and get as many collections listed here with these stories from many more countries than the few – mostly the U.S. – that I write about. But I guess you have to start somewhere. 

Here’s the enticing blurb from Goodreads:

The daughter of a poor baker in rural Bengal, India, Sabitri yearns to get an education, but her family’s situation means college is an impossible dream. Then an influential woman from Kolkata takes Sabitri under her wing, but her generosity soon proves dangerous after the girl makes a single, unforgivable misstep. Years later, Sabitri’s own daughter, Bela, haunted by her mother’s choices, flees abroad with her political refugee lover—but the America she finds is vastly different from the country she’d imagined. As the marriage crumbles and Bela is forced to forge her own path, she unwittingly imprints her own child, Tara, with indelible lessons about freedom, heartbreak, and loyalty that will take a lifetime to unravel.

“In her latest novel, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni explores the complex 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 voices.”
 

By the way, in an interview the author says this about writing linked short stories, which I found particularly resonant:

With writing linked stories, the challenge was to conceive of the overall arc, then decide which moments were best suited to amplification, and who should tell the story at that moment. I’m particularly happy that some of the stories are from the point of view of the men who are important in the lives of the three women. This challenged me to create very different voices and different viewpoints which allow the reader to glimpse areas of these women’s lives they would not have seen otherwise.”

That’s what I also try to do, especially with regard to Carrie and Jon’s marriage. I really want to write as many stories as possible about them, but from different POV’s, including 1st and 3rd person. I also want to take their children’s POVs into account when viewing the marriage and what it is like growing up with two ‘damaged’ parents, like in the story “The Seven Words Left On Paper”.

I have started but there must be at least a hundred stories more to tell, I feel. For each of the family members.


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