Chance Meetings: Stories About Cross-Cultural Karmic Collisions and Compassion | Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Chance Meetings: Stories About Cross-Cultural Karmic Collisions and Compassion

In this eloquent collection of stories, twelve different people from different walks of life discover how one chance meeting with a stranger can change a person forever.

Drawing from her own Indian-American heritage, Madhu Bazaz Wangu examines the lives of ordinary people facing challenging circumstances—cruelty, prejudiced minds, twisted family relationships, unhappy marriages—and demonstrates how these situations transcend ethnicity and background as interactions with strangers force each character to look deep within themselves, often acknowledging painful truths and long-held secrets, in order to seize control of their own destinies and forge their own paths to independence and happiness.

Madhu Bazaz Wangu poignantly weaves a universal message that ties the characters in these stories together, one that applies to anyone who has experienced poverty, jealousy, fear, prejudice, disillusionment, and above all, the feeling of being a foreigner, even within one’s own family.

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From Kirkus Reviews

The best tale in the book, “Cadmium and Crimson,” tells of a dying man who, desiring an elaborate casket, challenges two sculptors to create one. Their different approaches bring up issues of fame, simplicity, and the true duties of the artist, while the mystical ending gives the story the feel of a folk tale.

Wangu’s artistic and academic backgrounds pervade these otherwise unlinked stories. Art and religion, and the connections between them, are regular themes throughout. She also interweaves memoir with fiction…“Gauri’s Freedom” … deal[s] with the struggle of … women who find their traditional marriages stifling and must decide whether to serve their husbands or their art.

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Praise for Chance Meetings

Beautiful, lush, lyrical stories and rhythmic language transports and transforms — each story is an unforgettable journey.
Kathleen Shoop, IPPY Award-Winning Author of The Last Letter and After the Fog

A skilled practitioner, Madhu B. Wangu writes from the marrow of her bones. In her collection, she conjures dream-like motifs of goodness, guidance, and the human condition. Her writing, infused with echoes of Hindu and Buddhist myths, is deeply satisfying and transformative.
Gwyn Cready, RITA Award Winning Author

Chance Meetings is an evocative and thought-provoking collection: A delicious blending of cultures, delicately rendered and rich with sensory detail.
Meredith Mileti, Author of Aftertaste

Especially for Book Clubs

Chance Meetings book club guide

Thornburg Book Club
Thornburg Book Club