The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

A Novel
Length: 13 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (337 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The author of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows her acclaimed America debut with this life-affirming, witty family drama - an Indian This Is Where I Leave You - about three Punjabi sisters embarking on a pilgrimage to their homeland to lay their mother to rest.

The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirnia were never close and barely got along growing up and now have grown even further apart as adults. Rajni, a school principal, is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a 30-year-old struggling actress, fears her big break may never come. Shirina, the peacemaking "good" sister, married into wealth and enjoys a picture-perfect life.

On her deathbed, their mother voices one last wish: that her daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. After a trip to India with her mother long ago, Rajni vowed never to return. But she’s always been a dutiful daughter and cannot, even now, refuse her mother’s request. Jezmeen has just been publicly fired from her television job, so the trip to India is a welcome break to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career. Shirina’s in-laws are pushing her to make a pivotal decision about her married life; time away will help her decide whether to meekly obey or to bravely stand up for herself for the first time.

Arriving in India, these sisters will make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives - and learn the real story behind the trip Rajni took with their mother long ago - a momentous journey that resulted in Mum never being able to return to India again.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a female take on the Indian travel narrative. "I was curious about how different the trip would be if it were undertaken by women, who are vulnerable to different dangers in a male-dominated society," Balli Kaur Jaswal writes. "I also wanted to explore the tensions between tradition and modernity in immigrant communities, and particularly how those tensions play out among women like these sisters, who are the first generation to be raised outside of India."

Powerful, emotionally evocative, and wonderfully atmospheric, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a charming and thoughtful story that illuminates the bonds of family, sisterhood, and heritage that tether us despite our differences. Funny and heartbreaking, it is a reminder of the truly important things we must treasure in our lives.

©2019 Balli Kaur Jaswal (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Absolutely ruined by narrator

This book is about three British sisters, born in the UK of Indian parents. Why, oh why, then, the choice of an American narrator. These women speak with a hybrid quasi British/American accent which ruins the whole book. Very British words are totally mispronounced, (plaits - Am. braids) pronounced as plates, the wrong syllables are stressed (CONtrary for example, which is repeated several times), and the ridiculous elongation of vowels in an attempt to sound British is like a comedy routine (Paahki, baahguette). I so enjoyed this author's earlier book, with the Indian accent of the Punjabi widows, offset by the very authentic London/British accent of the younger characters. I was expecting the same of this book, and what a disappointment. Audible, you can do better.

17 people found this helpful

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You have to give it time

I admit that when I started this book I was more interested in the mother. The girls seemed shallow and juvenile. I also stopped listening so i could listen to The Lazarus File, which was amazing. Anyway, I returned to this book and actually am glad I did. It's predictable but overall a pleasant story.

4 people found this helpful

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Just okay for me (spoilers ahead)

I really really loved “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows” but this book didn’t resonate as deeply with me. Part of the problem was that the narrator on this audiobook was American. All of the characters are either British, Australian or Indian so the choice of accent seemed strange to me. The narrator did a great job speaking in character but the background narration with an American accent was distracting. I also found it quite unbelievable that the pregnancy wasn’t apparent to the other sisters. The big flashback reveal to the family drama which occurred during previous trip to India didn’t seem severe enough to warrant such a reaction by the characters (although I readily acknowledge the cultural differences between western & eastern norms)

4 people found this helpful

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a good story

The performance of the story was great maybe a little overbearing on some of the characters. story was a little weak but had its moments. It is worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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wonderful!

i loved it! such a great story. i would recommend this to women everywhere. i would read it again!

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Three stories with one thing in common. Mom.

Great adventure with three sisters with three completely different stories all intertwined because of their mom. A book I dont think I would have picked up but glad I did from a recommendation!

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loved it

I'm going to look for more books by Balli Kaur Jaswal😊 The story was interesting and emotional as the Shergill sisters each struggled their individual fears, regrets, and resentments. It took their mother's death to bring them together. Lovely ending.

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Brought hope to me

This books talks about difficult issues with such a clarity and at the same time brings hope to lives saddened by abuse. Glad to have heard it.

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Love this author and story

Really touching and fun story by the same author of “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows”. My only critique is that I agree with other reviewers that the narrator should have been British. Her American accent detracted from the story, which centers on three British sisters of Indian descent.

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Liked it but...

I had read Jaswal’s Erotic Stories and loved it, so I wanted to try another. I wish that the first part of the book was as good as the last. Stick through it and you will like the way it wraps up.