THE TIGER'S DAUGHTER by Bharati Mukherjee
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The high caste Bengal Tiger's daughter is Tara and although he has been able to override (overlook?) the disturbances in his native Calcutta, nonetheless he had sent her to Vassar. Now, seven years later, married to an American who is not with her, Tara returns for a visit. She has changed, Calcutta has changed, the world has changed -- there are still flowers all around along with the open dustbins as repositories for the dead and the petrol-filled Coke bottles. The latter are among the many cross-cultural adaptations when her old friends, with their volatile curiosity to learn all about America, delightedly articulate ""tight up"" and ""bang on."" Tara however is displaced and depressed -remembering Newark and Watts which she had seen on television, observing the processions and unruly riots from day to day, lapsing into inertia on her veranda, and belonging sometimes here, sometimes there. Miss Mukherjee's achievement, and it is a very real one, is to catch the air of edged excitation which prevails -- sometimes with humor (there's a marvelous Miss Americanized beauty contest up at a hill station), sometimes with a tragic shaft (the old tea planter in his blazer and sockless oxfords, trapped by his wealth and his failing mind) while cockroaches and dogs and cows scuttle through the back alleys of the city, far from the gracious protection of the Bengal Tiger's house on Camac Street. As Tara knows, the misery is too ""immense and blurred"" to be attributed to any one thing. But somehow the generous and often festive charms of the old world, perhaps only an innocent province of the heart, survive and convert this into a conspicuously appealing book.

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 1971
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin