The Unknown Errors of Our Lives

Chitra Divakaruni

Doubleday, 2001

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

In nine poignant stories spiked with humor and intelligence, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni captures lives at crossroad moments, caught between past and present, home and abroad, tradition and fresh experience.

A widow in California, recently arrived from India, struggles to adapt to a world in which neighbors are strangers and her domestic skills are deemed superfluous in the award-winning "Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter." In "The Intelligence of Wild Things," a woman from Sacramento visits her brother in Vermont to inform him that back in Calcutta their mother is dying. And in the title story, a painter looks to ancient myth and the example of her grandmother for help in navigating her first real crisis of faith.

Knowing, compassionate and expertly rendered, the stories in The Unknown Errors of Our Lives depict the eternal struggle to find a balance between the pull of home and the allure of change.

“Women struggling-in spite of beloved family-against a terrible aloneness. In that resonance lies this collection’s triumph.”
Washington Post Book World

“It is her gift for language and her ability to cast sentences of exquisite beauty that make her such a high-performance writer.”
USA Today

“This is an extraordinary collection, intelligently conceived and passionately written. The stories illuminate the pain, loss and alienation of the immigrant experience and transform them into a drama of our common human existence.”
Ha Jin, author of Waiting and winner of the 1999 National Book Award

“Sensuously evocative….Divakaruni writes intensely touching tales of lapsed communication, inarticulate love and redemptive memories.”
Publisher's Weekly

“These hauntingly beautiful stories of epiphany and catharsis place Divakaruni in the vanguard of fine literary writers who touch a broad spectrum of readers.”

“[The Unknown Errors of Our Lives] blends the chills of reality with the rich imagining of a fairy tale.”
Wall Street Journal
“She arranges bouquets of sensual detail and crisply etches unspoken passions.”
Los Angeles Times

Chicago Tribune

“Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is one of our finest chroniclers of the trials of life among first-generation Americans…Irresistible and seductive, The Unknown Error of Our Lives is shaped by the voice of a true storyteller, each piece filled with private charm and wise empathy.”
The Portland Oregonian