The Tree Bride by Bharati Mukherjee

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National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Bharati Mukherjee has long been known not only for her elegant, evocative prose but also for her characters--influenced by ancient customs and traditions but also very much rooted in modern times. In The Tree Bride, the narrator, Tara Chatterjee (whom readers will remember from Desirable Daughters), picks up the story of an East Bengali ancestor. According to legend, at the age of five Tara Lata married a tree and eventually emerged as a nationalist freedom fighter. In piecing together her ancestor's transformation from a docile Bengali Brahmin girl-child into an impassioned organizer of resistance against the British Raj, the contemporary narrator discovers and lays claim to unacknowledged elements in her 'American' identity. Although the story of the Tree Bride is central, the drama surrounding the narrator, a divorced woman trying to get back with her husband, moves the novel back and forth through time and across continents.

About Bharati Mukherjee

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Bharati Mukherjee is the author of five novels, two non-fiction books, and two collections of short stories, including The Middleman and Other Stories, for which she won the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a professor of English at the University of California Berkeley.
Published August 4, 2004 by Hyperion. 304 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Mukherjee’s tale itself displays similar energies, rising to a spectacular climax when Tara, hugely pregnant, barely escapes death again—and begins to understand how “an indiscriminate killer in India and America, was born and possibly raised in my family’s house.” The Tree Bride is thus filled w...

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Publishers Weekly

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The tale begins as her San Francisco house is firebombed by a man obsessed with killing her, and trails back to her legendary great-great-aunt and namesake, Tara Lata, who was born in 1874 and, at five, married to a tree because her fiancé died.

Aug 16 2004 | Read Full Review of The Tree Bride

Bookmarks Magazine

… A key theme in The Tree Bride is Tara’s attempt to reconcile the part of her tied to her Indian heritage with her life as an assimilated American."

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of The Tree Bride


Key to the story is Tara's namesake, Tara Lata Gangooly, who was literally married to a tree when her fiancé was killed on the way to her wedding.

Sep 30 2004 | Read Full Review of The Tree Bride

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