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Queen of DreamsQueen of Dreams by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A difficult book to write review about. At times it looks like self-indulgence of an immature female taking offence at every happening in life, but it is good in parts, especially the bonding between the daughter and father and the reunion with the ex-husband towards the end.

The book is about Rakhi Gupta who is the daughter of a lady who can read dreams and sometimes also dreams others dreams. Rakhi has seen her mother aloof all the time and has not got as much attention as a child would have expected. At the same time she does not wish to cosy up with her father. This experience makes her have a similar relationship with others around her.

She marries Sonny and due to an incident leaves him and takes custody of her daughter. She and her best friend manage by running their own coffee shop. Things change when a large coffee chain opens shop in front of their store and starts taking away their clientele.

Her friend pushes her to turn to her mother for help. The three of them go to the competitor’s coffee shop to get an assessment. After they come out her mother gives her an indication of what they should do to resurrect their business.

Before they can understand the implications of her mother’s statement her mother dies in an accident when returning home after attending the opening of a gallery showcasing her paintings. Her ex-husband also turns up and she creates a scene about him coming uninvited. She refuses to pick up her husband’s call at midnight the same day not realizing that he is calling to inform her about her parent’s accident.

She is forced to move into her father’s place to tend to him as he has fractured his arms. Soon after his arm heals he helps her turn her coffee shop into a desi joint selling Indian savouries. He uses his experience as an apprentice with a teashop owner in India during his school times to cook the savouries. His ability to sing old Indian songs attracts a set of people who start frequenting the shop just to hear him sing and to sing along with him. Soon there is motley crowd of non-whites who start frequenting the place along with the other Indians to enjoy and participate in the music.

The book ends with a fire at the coffee shop and with the 9/11 attack on World Trade Center.

The best part of the book, as mentioned earlier, is the bond that builds up between the daughter and the father when they are shoring up the shop and then between the wife and ex-husband after the attacks on them after the 9/11.

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