The Friends of the Mansfield Public Library has selected “Oleander Girl,” a coming-of-age story by distinguished author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, as the featured book of the for the 14th annual Mansfield Reads! “One City, One Book”program.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Chitra Divakaruni to Mansfield,” said Lindsey Perkins Wade, vice president of the group. “Her work is beautifully crafted, her accomplishments far-reaching and her speaking engagements met with glowing reviews.”
The “One City, One Book” event, modeled after similar programs across the country, encourages literacy, promotes the library and fosters a sense of community by encouraging everyone to read the same book at the same time.
The adventures in “Oleander Gril” are seen through the lens of Korobi, a young woman from a distinguished and orthodox Bengali heritage who falls in love with a man from a nouveau-riche business family in Kolkata, a city buffeted by the clash between the old and new ways of life. On the brink of marriage, Korobi discovers a family secret that shakes her sense of self, causes her to put off her wedding, and impels her on a journey to America that will ultimately transform her in ways she cannot imagine. Set in 2002, in the fraught world of post 9/11 America and in an India torn apart by the Godhra Riots, “Oleander Girl” is an examination of the consequences of intolerance and the cost of desire.
Houston-based professor and author Divakaruni, an American Book Award winner, is a bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Her work has been published in more than 50 magazines, including The Atlantic and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in more than 50 anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Prize Stories and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She is the author of more than a dozen books, the most recent of which is Before We Visit the Goddess (April 2016).
The Friends are hosting Divakaruni on Friday, April 28, at the Mansfield Public Library for Mansfield Reads! Evening with the Author, where Divakaruni will speak about “Oleander Girl” and sign books. It is a free event, however registration is required. Registration will open March 17 on the friends website.
Paperback and hardback copies “Oleander Girl” are available for purchase now at the Mansfield Public Library’s front desk for $12 and $20, respectively, and online on mansfieldlibraryfriends.org. A portion of the book sales goes to the Friends. Accepted forms of payment include cash or checks made out to Friends of the Mansfield Library.
Mansfield Reads! began in April 2004, organized by the Friends group and coordinated with the library staff. The organization and the library, with the help of sponsors, host activities and programs to facilitate discussion and engagement, which culminates with An Evening With the Author. Past Reads! authors include Fannie Flagg, Sandra Brown, Taylor Stevens, Jeff Guinn and Buzz Bissinger. Mansfield Reads! has been fortunate to host the selected books’ author at each of the 14 author events.
Founded in 1965, the Friends group is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the library through fundraising, promotion and advocacy. Friends use the money they raise to purchase things for the library that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, as well as fund the annual, citywide Mansfield Reads! program.
For more information, visit mansfieldlibraryfriends.org/reads.