It is one thing to be named after a flower, and another to be named after a poisonous one. But this is not the only mystery in Korobi Roy’s life.
Oleander Girl is about Korobi, an 18-year-old orphan who must connect the dots to solve the anonymity that surrounds her parents. Brought up in her maternal grandparent’s house in Kolkata, Korobi sleeps in her mother’s bed, covering herself with the same sheets, as her mother once did. Sarojini and Bimal, her grandparents, are elusive and touchy about the subject, so all she knows is that her mother died giving birth to her, a few months after her father, a lawyer, died in an car accident.
To find the answers that have troubled her since childhood, all she has is an unfinished love letter her mother wrote to her dead father and the vision of her mother’s ghost a day before her engagement with Rajat Bose, the son of an influential couple, who warns her of an impending disaster. “Where must I go? What am I to look for?” questions Korobi, as the ghost points to the ocean and then to her daughter.
On the day of the engagement, Bimal dies suddenly, leaving Sarojini as the sole caretaker not only of the big house, but a dark secret that changes Korobi’s life forever.
Not wanting to step into her new life with Rajat without fully understanding her past, Korobi sets out to go to America and unravel the in search of her true identify. Then there is Rajat’s past, too, and the Bose family’s financial problems. How does Korobi tie the loose ends of her past without tightening the rope around her present?
Oleander Girl is a tale of a love lost, a love found and a life that changes in search of truth. Pick it up on a rainy day, when your heart craves for a heartwarming tale.
If you have read Palace of Illusions — the Mahabharata as narrated by Draupadi — you know that Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni creates magic with words that absorb you into the world occupied by her book’s characters. A light read, Oleander Girl is a book that doesn’t make your imagination work too hard but leaves you satisfied with a good read.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Published by Penguin