South Asian Author Challenge, Book 1/5: One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
This is the story of random strangers trapped in the Indian consulate in an unnamed city in the U.S after an earthquake. As the conditions worsen (lack of food, air, electricity, etc.), the strangers each take turns telling their stories, their "one amazing thing" that proves that life is a gift, to each other in case they do not make it out alive. This novel requires some suspension of belief, as the characters spend more time telling their stories than trying to escape. However, in the wake of tragedies like those that happened this year in Haiti and Chile, it raises both hard questions and good points about the miracle of simply being alive.
I confess that Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is one of my all-time favorite writers. She was a gateway drug of sorts for me into what became an all-out obsession with South Asian writers. Her prose can be heartbreakingly beautiful. However, I don't recommend that you start with this one if you want to give her a try. Check out The Mistress of Spices or Sister of My Heart. While One Amazing Thing was not my favorite of her books, so far she hasn't failed me yet!