Book Review: Desirable Daughters by Bharati Mukherjee

The Book
The Bharati Mukherjee bug bit me again.  And this is a good book to get bit by!  The prequel to The Tree Bride (which is such a favorite that I'm most probably going to have to reread it), the story follows Tara, a Brahmin who grew up in high class Calcutta in the 50's and 60's and marries a founding Silicon Valley engineer.  One of three "desirable daughters" Tara is destined for a desirable life, until in discovering her own unhappiness she uncovers the deep currents of denial and repression at the heart of her own family. 

A mysterious and threatening stranger claiming to be a relation arrives on her doorstep, and Tara must piece together the lives of her sisters in New Jersey and in Calcutta, eventually tracing back to their ancestral village in Bengal to determine what's happened.  There's a lot of local color in that Tara lives in a falling apart Victorian in San Francisco, is dating a former Hells Angel turned Zen Buddhist, and the Haight is one of her favorite haunts.  And Sgt. Jack Singh Sidhu, ethnic officer for the SFPD, is a favorite character, featuring in one of the funniest scenes of the book when Tara attempts to describe her family's situation in hopes of investigating the mysterious stranger.  There's some surprising twists and turns, a bit of violent mob action, and certainly enough Bollywoodesque drama to keep the pages turning.