Reader reviews for The Vine of Desire: A Novel

Having loved Sister of My Heart, I had great expectations from its sequel. But what a huge disappointment!!!!!!!!!!

The author has begun the book in such a way that even if you haven’t read the last book you’ll not be lost. The main protagonists in the novel are Sudha, Anjli, Sunil (Anju’s husband) & Dayita (Sudha’s months old Daughter). The book starts with Anju’s miscarriage & its effect on her and her marriage. Anju & her husband are settled in U.S. and for her support Anju calls Sudha. Who leaves everything to come & help her sister of heart.

In the last book it was shown that Sunil might be having a crush on Sudha and that’s the reason the he is shown not to be very happy with her coming to U.S. The rest of the novel traces the journey of each of these characters.

Anju is shown trying to come to terms with her life, trying to complete her education and find her freedom. She is fighting the truth that her husband might be in love with her cousin.

Sunil is a confused soul who can not understand whom to love and how to behave with Sudha around. However he showers all his love on Dayita.

Sudha too is confused, she has come to U.S but knows that instead of helping her sister she has become a catalyst for breaking her sister’s marriage. However she is not willing to go back to India for her own reasons.

What forms rest of the story is how these three characters spend their life, fighting each other in some way or the other. Sudha meets a doctor (he is the only character in this novel who brings some smile on your face) & befriends him. The effect of this friendship on Sunil brings major changes in each of the character’s lives. Everybody takes their own path; everybody finds freedom and in some ways achieves their dreams or come closer to their dreams.

Why is the book a let down??

1. 75% of the novel is in third person, which is irritating to a large extent. 2. There is no Story at all…its like Indian movies. The author has written a sequel for the sake of writing. She doesn’t possess any solid material to stretch the story. The novel tries to move like a movie plot telling the point of view of three people at the same time, when u r reading a book it tends to become confusing. 3. In my review of the previous book I had written that there are small stories sprayed all around the book which are very lovely…in this novel too there are these stories but they are plain boring, just like the book. They keep going on and on and on….

After reading this book I felt that the author has become over indulgent. Some books go into philosophy and poetic stuff. This book falls in that category but the only problem is that it’s not needed. Excess of anything is bad and that’s what has happened here. To dish out too much message the author has forgotten the real plot and made the novel real boring.

Am one of those readers who reads every page and trust me I have skipped 30% of pages in this book. I don’t why did the author stretch this 100-150 pages worth story to 400 Pgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Predictable. Not nearly as good as Sister of My Heart.
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I've been teaching Divakaruni's SISTER OF MY HEART for the past two years in my multicultural literature class. Each year, it is one of the most popular reads of the semester, in lager part because of the romance and fairy tale elements, I believe. I usually don't like to read sequels to books I'm teaching, as I find that my memories of a book get muddied -- did this happen in the book we're reading, or in the later book? But as I'm not gong to be teaching this year, I decided to go ahead and find out how Divakaruni decided to continue the story of Anju and Sudha, two cousins raised almost as sisters in India. At first, I found this new book difficult; the narrative voice is far different than the first person alternating narratives of SISTER. But as I read, I began to see why Divakaruni had chosen the multiple ways of narrating her story (switching point of view, switching from the first person to the third, switching discourses). Sudha and Anju are no longer as sure of themselves as they were as teenage girls; the third person allows Divakaruni to show us her characters from a distance, from the outside, almost as they themselves are feeling -- distances from their home,as immigrants in the U. S., but also distanced from themselves. Who am I, each struggles to discover. What do I desire? While the answers to these questions aren't as pleasing to readers as they were in SISTER, they made for a rich, thoughtful study in character. [Ms. Wombat]
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I didn't like this book as much as the first one, but it was still an excellent read.
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