One Amazing Thing

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One Amazing Thing
Author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Country United States, India
Language English
Publisher Hyperion, Penguin Books India
Publication date
February 2010
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 220 (Paperback)
ISBN 9780670084524

One Amazing Thing is a 2010 novel by award-winning novelist and poet Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. It was first published in the United States in Voice by Hyperion 2009 and later published in Hamish Hamilton by Penguin Books India 2010. The novel is about a group of people who are trapped in a visa office after a massive earthquake and about how they try surviving in the dark place with no way out of the debris surrounding them.

Plot summary[edit]

A group of 9 people are trapped in the visa office at an Indian Consulate after a massive earthquake hits in an American city. Amongst them are two visa officers on the verge of an adulterous affair; Jiang, a Chinese-India woman in her last years; her gifted teenage granddaughter Lily; Cameron, an ex-soldier haunted by guilt; Uma, an Indian-American girl bewildered by her parent's decision to return to Kolkatta after 20 years; Tariq, a young Muslim man angry with the new America; and an enraged and bitter elderly white couple. After several attempts to find a way out of the debris formed around them, they come to the conclusion that there is nothing they can do but wait for some help. In the meantime they ration out the little food and water that they had on their persons and try to make it last as long as they can. As they wait to be rescued − or to die − they begin to tell each other stories of their lives, each recalling "one amazing thing" in their life, sharing things they have never spoken of before. Their tales are tragic and life-affirming, revealing what it means to be human and the incredible power of story telling.