One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni

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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 Chitra Divakaruni

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Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the bestselling author of the novels Sister of My Heart and The Mistress of Spices; the story collections The Unknown Errors of Our Lives and Arranged Marriage, which received several awards, including the American Book Award; and four collections of prize-winning poetry. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms., Zoetrope, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, The Best American Short Stories 1999, and The New York Times. Born in India, Divakaruni lives near Houston. For further information about Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, visit her Web site at
Published January 15, 2010 by Hachette Books. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for One Amazing Thing

Kirkus Reviews

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A diverse group trapped in the aftermath of a disaster shares tales of love, loss and desire.

Jan 17 2011 | Read Full Review of One Amazing Thing

Publishers Weekly

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In a soggy treatment of catastrophe and enlightenment, Divakaruni (The Mistress of Spices ) traps a group of nine diverse people in the basement of an Indian cons

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of One Amazing Thing


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Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says the new novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni takes the shape of Scheherazade's tales, as nine people begin sharing their life stories after being trapped in the basement passport office of San Fransisco's Indian Consulate after an earthquake.

Feb 23 2010 | Read Full Review of One Amazing Thing


The beauty of the story is the fact that the action lies in the minds and hearts of each survivor, from their initial impressions of their fellow human beings to their individual stories and motivation for going to India to their shift in feelings towards each other by the end.

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Book Reporter

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new novel, ONE AMAZING THING,.

Jan 13 2011 | Read Full Review of One Amazing Thing

Oregon Live

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Mar 08 2010 | Read Full Review of One Amazing Thing

(Mr. and Mrs. Pritchett, the dullest of the survivors at first and second glance, enjoy two of the most poignant stories in the group.

Jan 31 2010 | Read Full Review of One Amazing Thing

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