Leave it to Me

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A.A. Knopf, 1997 - Fiction - 239 pages
2 Reviews
Debby DiMartino: saved from death in infancy by Gray Nuns at an Indian desert outpost; adopted as a toddler by Manfred and Serena DiMartino of Schenectady, New York; coming of age an inherently exotic girl in an inherently American town, never sure if she was someone special or just a special kind of misfit. Now, at twenty-three, she's decided that it's time to find out: time to track down her biological parents. She knows only the barest facts about them: her mother was a California flower child; her father, an "Asian national" serving life in an Indian prison for murder. She knows that they were "lousy people who'd considered me lousier still and who'd left me to be sniffed at by wild dogs, like a carcass in the mangy shade". Her only inheritance from them is a literally haunting past ("white-hot sky and burnt-black leaves...star bursts of yearning"), but now she wants revenge too. "When you inherit nothing, you are entitled to everything", Debby says as she leaves home for San Francisco, where, if she can't find her mother, she suspects she can appropriate what she needs. Yet, once there, living the life of her newly named persona, Devi Dee ("Tenderloin prowler, all allure and strength and zero innocence"), she senses that she may have inherited more than she imagined: a legacy of shocking idea and impulse begins to reveal itself as Debby/Devi focuses her sights on the woman who may be her "bio-mom", or just a dangerously unprepared proxy.

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User Review  - JLSmither - LibraryThing

I enjoyed Holder of the World by Mukherjee, but was disappointed with this one. The characters are shallow in thought and description. The author doesn't provide enough detail about any of them for ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - purplehena - LibraryThing

This is a strange one. Overall, it was decent, and I mostly enjoyed it, but there were times when it got a bit too rambly and other times when it was just a bit too out there for my taste (okay, that ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Bharati Mukherjee was born in Calcutta, India in 1940 to a wealthy, traditional family. She attended the universities of Calcutta and Baroda, where she earned a master's degree in English and Ancient Indian Culture. In 1961, she came to the United States to attend the Writers Workshop and earned her master's of fine arts and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa. In 1963, Mukherjee married Clark Blaise, a Canadian author, and immigrated to Canada. She became a naturalized citizen in 1972. While she was teaching English at McGill University, she began writing fiction. Living in Canada was difficult for Mukherjee so, with her husband, she moved back to the United States and became a citizen. She then taught creative writing at Columbia University, New York University and Queens College and then became Professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley. Some of Mukherjee's titles include: "Wife" (1975), "Days and Nights in Calcutta" (1977), Middleman and Other Stories" (1988), "Holder of the World" (1993), and "Leave It To Me" (1997). In 1988 she won the National Book Critics Circle Award (The Middleman and Other Stories).

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