The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

A Novel

eBook - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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 Shirina—were never close and barely got along growing up, and now as adults, have grown even further apart. Rajni, a school principal is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a thirty-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.
Publisher: [S.l.]: HarperCollins, 2019.
ISBN: 9780062645166
Characteristics: 320 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 08, 2020

Great family dynamics!

Jul 23, 2020

As I had not read the authors previous book, I had no expectations of 'The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters' beyond the blurb I read regarding it, possibly in Publishers Weekly.

The sisters had forgotten how to be sisters and Mom is determined to teach them to remember how through her deathbed 'requests'. In my opinion suicide was unnecessary for the plot line.

The sisters were and remained tiresome in their utter self-absorption through most of the book.

The causes of each of their angst dragged on far too long. Nothing was explained as they tried to follow Mom's wishes for three-quarters of the book. They each lived, stayed and wallowed in their own heads with little notion of who the other two were/are, let alone themselves. They barely shared the experiences none wanted to experience in India and there wasn't all that much 'adventure'.

What I learned about India and Sikhs is as fascinating as it is alarming, especially given that we know some devout Sikh men through their business interests with my husband.

3 stars . . . and why the heck did Jezmeen change the spelling of her name?

May 15, 2020

My shallow first impressions of this book were based on the title and cover art and I was expecting something funny and light. This book delivered so much more than that. It is about three British sisters who embark on a pilgrimage to India at their mother's dying request to re-connect with their heritage. It is a story about family relationships and the roles that individuals play in their families. It is also a story about making peace with the conflicting cultures that are a part of each of the women's lives. It was entertaining and interesting and I got more out of this book than I bargained for.

STPL_JessH Mar 23, 2020

I absolutely loved Balli Kaur Jaswal's first book so I eagerly awaited the publication of Unlikely Adventures. I agree with other reviewers that this one does not quite live up to the high standards set by Jaswal's debut. That said, I enjoyed the ending and thought this was quite a nice story. I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a family drama with a bit of a quest narrative thrown in the mix. The characters are authentic, flawed, funny, and just trying to make their way in an ever changing world. I will definitely read whatever Jaswal writes next.

JessicaGma Oct 17, 2019

I have to agree with the rest of the reviews posted here - not as thrilling as her first novel, which was such an interesting story, but the Shergill sisters all have something they are overcoming and chasing down. Lots of family baggage, but it all works out.

Sep 17, 2019

Balli delivers another juicy, character-driven, unputdownable novel which left me enthralled and happy! I was grabbed from page one and kept tautly tantalized by the sisters' secrets and withholdings from each other until the gratifying final pages. The Author captures authentic voices in her characters, allowing each one to be intricately nuanced and enabling the plot to unfurl with tension and finesse in a setting which offers the redolent fragrances of Delhi and Punjab. A sublime read for anyone who wishes to be drawn into a world of modern Women living within the confines of familial expectations, cultural demands and personal desires.

liljables Sep 10, 2019

I had to pick this book up after thoroughly enjoying Balli Kaur Jaswal's previous novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. I'm sure I won't be the first to say that this follow-up is sliiiightly less entertaining, and sliiiightly less of a page-turner, but The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is still an absolute delight. We're given even more insight into the lives of Punjabi women living in the diaspora, pulled between the traditions of their upbringing and the realities of modern life. I don't have sisters, but I still found the relationships between the Shergill women familiar - Jaswal writes sisterhood like female friendship turned up to 11. This is definitely worth a read (especially if Erotic Stories was too racy for you).

Aug 31, 2019

Such a great book - fun to read and learn about family affairs, traditions and customs of the Indian culture.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Aug 13, 2019

A fun family drama, set primarily in India. While I enjoyed this...I didn't love it as much as I did the author's first book: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows.

RandomLibrarian Jul 24, 2019

Review excerpt: "'The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters' is a contemporary novel (not a romance) about three sisters who honor their mother’s last wish by going on a pilgrimage to India. At first I found the book to be too slow paced, but once I got into the flow of the story I enjoyed this book for its characters, its perspectives on culture, and its examination of family in general and sisterhood in particular."

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top