Finally I finished this gem of a novel today. But as I trod the final steps of this illuminating journey, I felt a pang of sadness. But then a thought struck me. You can read it again, stupid!

I came to know about Chitra Banerjee Divakurani ma’am in a Goodreads group. I went through her books and found ‘Sister of My Heart’ tugging at my hungry mind. I relented. As I plunged into the novel, within the first few pages I knew—this was going to be a wonderful read.

Before I knew it, I found myself immersed in the story. The characterization is extraordinary. Both Sudha and Anju are dipped in shades of grey. They make mistakes,
they learn, they apologize, they show kindness, they exhibit selflessness, they get jealous —a plethora of traits. The author has weaved the characters with multiple
threads of emotions, creating delectable personalities. But, after all, its reality—humans are complex creatures.

Now, let me come to the language. Well, let me just summarize my opinion with a single statement: When I read ‘The Kite Runner’, I realized what lucid, poetic writing
is, but when I read this book, I understood the extent of the beauty such prose could conjure. I was left reeling as a relentless barrage of delicious sentences assaulted
me like an army of chocolates. In almost every page I had to take a breather—saying wow inwardly—to shield myself from the lingering shock of delightful amazement. The exquisite usage of similes, the literary magnificence, the short yet sugary sentences had me on my literal knees, in obeisance to the mistress of prose, Chitra Banerjee Divakurani. I have developed a habit of noting down poetic statements in my note app for self-improvement. Well, this divine book exhausted three Google Keep notes. Reading this book has been one of the best things I have done in my life, at least just for the prose.

Even the story reeks of brilliance. The plot is layered with amazing intricacy and evolves beautifully as the novel progresses. Mainly, it is driven by the characters and the problems and revelations they encounter on the way. The dialogues are drenched in startling realism, and on several instances, sweep you off your feet. But the narration is strange. Although it’s linear, its not scene by scene like I prefer. Summarization of past events overshadows the story on occasions. This results in a little more telling than showing, which I’ve read is considered better, but the magic of the prose casts an invisible veil over your senses, luring you forward like a lover behind a dame. The reflections of the characters oozes of beauty, the magically relevant metaphors mesmerizing you like a spell. Secrets act like sledgehammers, slamming against you with sudden brutality, knocking you breathless. I was riveted to the story from the beginning to the end.

But the only minor snag I felt was, although the novel intrigued me throughout and pushed me on the verge of crying on some occasions, it was never successful in
reducing me to tears, like ‘The Kite Runner’.

Nevertheless, this is a must read for all aspiring writers, those who want to write a quality book. Those who wish to pen mindless cheesy romantic books won’t be able to appreciate its magnificence, though. But Chitra ma’am is a role model for me. 4.9 stars to this literary masterpiece by the most skillful writer I have encountered till now, by a long way.


For older reviews visit my blog:


Published by Pankaj Giri