Monday, July 04, 2022

What is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of The Last Queen: A Novel of Courage and Resistance.

Her entry begins:
Lonesome Flight by Dipak Gupta

This first novel depicts a powerful and tragic story known to too few. It is the story of the Naxalite terrorist movement in India in the 1960s that seduced and claimed many promising young lives. Set in Calcutta, the city I grew up in, Gupta’s novel resonated with me because of its authentic details and the writer’s keen eye. It is also a moving love story, and an adventure rife with secrets and betrayals, violence and redemption. I loved the way the novel surprised me as it moved from the bustle of the city to the lives of tribals in remote forests of Bengal.

Reading, I felt that this insightful fictional depiction of how bright young minds are recruited into becoming terrorists is particularly timely because of the distressing growth of terrorist cells worldwide today, as well as the resurgence of...[read on]
About The Last Queen, from the publisher:
She rose from commoner to become the last reigning queen of India’s Sikh Empire. In this dazzling novel, based on true-life events, bestselling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni presents the unforgettable story of Jindan, who transformed herself from daughter of the royal kennel keeper to powerful monarch.

Sharp-eyed, stubborn, and passionate, Jindan was known for her beauty. When she caught the eye of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, she was elevated to royalty, becoming his youngest and last queen—and his favorite. And when her son, barely six years old, unexpectedly inherited the throne, Jindan assumed the regency. She transformed herself from pampered wife to warrior ruler, determined to protect her people and her son’s birthright from the encroaching British Empire.

Defying tradition, she stepped out of the zenana, cast aside the veil, and conducted state business in public, inspiring her subjects in two wars. Her power and influence were so formidable that the British, fearing an uprising, robbed the rebel queen of everything she had, but nothing crushed her indomitable will.

An exquisite love story of a king and a commoner, a cautionary tale about loyalty and betrayal, a powerful parable of the indestructible bond between mother and child, and an inspiration for our times, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s novel brings alive one of the most fearless women of the nineteenth century, one whose story cries out to be told.
Learn more about the book and author at Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's website.

The Page 69 Test: Oleander Girl.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Queen.

Writers Read: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

--Marshal Zeringue