i recieved Divakaruni's latest novel in the mail last week and decided to bite the bullet and read it. While i think Chitra is a wonderful person and a very conscientious writer, I just can't seem to like her novels. In fact, what pleased me most after reading Queen of Dreams was the hope that I too have a shot as a novelist.
the seed of the story: rakhi, a divorced artist living in Berkeley California, with a young daughter, whose mother reads and interprets dreams, learns to negotiate her relationships with her past and present. throw in a cool DJ ex-hubby, an alcoholic dad who turns around, a sardaarni best friend and a rebellious young child torn between two parents and two catastrophic events: mother's demise and 9/11. oh, and cameo appearances from a elusive, yoga practicing, fast car driving, spirit/muse called emit maerd. 1 mississippi 2 mississippi 3 mississippi... did you guess it yet? emit maerd=dream time. we did stuff like this in grade school, but to see it in a novel that is supposed to be serious, for an audience of adults, was a real let down.
the book is vey wordy, with long descriptive sentances. there are some pure shots of poetry inbetween though, which if taken out of the book, would stand on their own beautifully.
It's evening, the blue hour of gathering shadows.
why, oh why, chitra, did you stop writing poetry????
did emit maerd just say money? fame?
To me queen of dreams read like notes of that novel that divakaruni will write. yes, there are notes in it, in the form of a dream journal, that verge on interesting but then somehow become dense:
first, follow this man, for he is either a spirit guide or a demon. in either case, trick him into speaking to you. that is how you establish power over him. ask him the question foremost in your mind. his answer may transform your life. but most importantly, do not lose him. more instructions will be given to you next year, when you have learned enough to understand such subtleties.
subtlety, as you can see is not behenji's strong point. behenji would have passed with third division marks at dream school.
behenji wants to say more but has to tend to a growling stomach. but what to do with the hungry mind? somebody somewhere better be writing a novel that will make behenji weep and sing.