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The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

A Novel
Length: 13 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

Regular price: $34.22

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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

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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. 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 expcting the same of this book, and what a disappointment. Audible, you can do better.

1 of 1 people found this review 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)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Babs
  • Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 05-16-19

Engaging, moving and enlightening!

I did not enjoy the author's previous book, so I approached this one with reservations. But I totally enjoyed it. Three very different sisters from a Sikh family in London, each at a crossroads in life, try to fulfill their mother's dying wish by traveling together to India. The sisters' personalities, challenges and conflicts are very realistic, but we also get a taste of the tension between cultural traditions and personal desires. Couldn't put it down.

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Wow

What a wonderful story of sisterhood and need for feminism!!! I won’t be a spoiler but every family has a dumbass and this one’s name is Shirina.