Banerjet llivakaru ni Tll I HOUSE NV ILL COME TO ORDER 4 FREEDOM UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PRESS THE CHOSEN FOLKS THE WAR ON POVERTY AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN TEXAS The House Will Come to Order How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics THE HOUSE WILL COME TO ORDER IS the first exploration of Texas’s Speaker of the Housea role that has evolved from powerless obscurity to heavyweight political preeminence. Focus ON AMERICAN HISTORY SERIES THE DOLPH BRISCOE CENTER FOR AMERICAN HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN DON CARLETON, EDITOR 21 senor photos $40.00 hardcover The Chosen Folks :Yews on the Frontiers qf Texas “Bryan Stone is a gifted thinker and storyteller. His book on the history of Texas Awry integrates the collec tive scholarship and memoirs of generations of writers into a cohesive account with a strong interpretive message.” JEWISH HISTORY, LIFE, AND CULTURE MICHAEL NDIDITCH, SERIES EDITOR 38 BOW photos $50.00 hardcover Freedom Is Not Enough The War on. Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement in Texas FREEDOM IS NOT ENOUGH IS THE first in-depth examination of Lyndon Johnson’s Office of Economic Opportunity and its role in the rise and fall of postwar liberalism in the Lone Star State. 15 B&W photos $55.00 hardcover Read more about these books online. 800.252.3206 wwvv.utexaspress.com BOOK REVIEW Lives in Extremis by T THE INDIAN CONSULATE IN AN unidentified major American city, seven visa applicants and two members of the consular staff are trapped by an earthquake. As water rises in the collapsed building and food runs out, one of the accidental companions suggests they tell each other stories. What is the most amazing thing they’ve ever experienced? In this, her twelfth book of fiction, University of Houston writing teacher Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s characters include an elderly Chinese woman, Jiang, and her teenage granddaughter Lily; the consulate secretary, Malathi, and her boss, Mr. Mangalam; an elderly white couple, the Pritchetts; an African-American Vietnam war veteran named Cameron; a young Indian Muslim named Tariq; and Uma, an Indian graduate student studying literature. They tell their stories in this sequence as the desperation of their situation incites them to increasing intimacy. In Giovanni Boccaccio’s Renaissance classic The Decameron, 10 privileged characters escape the plague to a country estate, where they share the stories of their lives. Such confessional stories are a foundation of humanistic literature; they allow characters to lay bare their souls and bypass hypocrisy, shame and guilt. The same vulnerability and exposure characterize One Amazing Thing. The Chinese grandmother begins by telling of her first love, an Indian man in Calcutta, and how the ethnic conflict of the 1962 Sino-Indian war made marriage an impossibility. As with her fellow characters, something is drawing her back to India, an urge to see if old magic can be rekindled, old tensions reconciled. One might expect granddaughter Lily, with her privileged American life, to have a more sedate tale to tell, yet the generations are bridged in angst when Lily spins a melancholy story about living in the shadow of her gifted older brother. The attempt to escape the constraints of culture is one of the book’s dominant themes. Malathi and Mr. Mangalam have been engaged in a mutually hurtful flirtation at the consulate. We see this flirtation more forgivingly upon hearing their stories. Malathi is from a small town in the southwest Indian state of Kerala, where she avoided the chains of early marriage by taking a job at Miss Lola’s Lovely Ladies Salon. The generally meek Malathi had shown rare courage in burning the hair of a society matron who prevented her American-educated son from getting romantically involved with the family maid. Mr. Mangalam, though male, showed similar daring in fleeing his humble origins. He made a devil’s bargain to marry a rich man’s daughter, but once he established himself in his profession, he couldn’t escape her or her powerful father’s domination. At the novel’s start, coming to terms with the unfolding disaster, Mr. Mangalam seems to cling to his power too desperately. As he unveils his story, we begin to understand why. We might think well-educated Uma has everything ONE AMAZING THING By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni VOICE/HYPERION 220 PAGES, $23.99 LEARN MORE about author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni at www.txio.comichitra
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