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   Mistress Of Spices

     Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

    Format:  Paperback
    Publisher: Black Swan Books
    ISBN: 0385482388
    Seller: Books Caterer
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Our Price Rs. 350
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   About the Book* - Mistress Of Spices

An exotic, magical novel by a young Indian immigrant to the US.Tilo, an immigrant from India, runs an Indian spice shop in Oakland, California. While she dispenses the classic ingredients for curries and kormas, she also helps her customers to gain a more precious commodity: whatever they most desire. For Tilo is a Mistress of Spices, a priestess of the secret, magical powers of spices.Through those who visit and revisit her shop - Ahuja_Ts wife, caught in an unhappy, abusive marriage; Jagjit, the victim of racist attacks at school; the noisy bougainvillaea girls, rejecting the strict upbringing of their tradition-bound Indian parents; Haroun who drives a taxi and dreams the American dream - we get a glimpse into the life of the local Indian expatriate community. To each Tilo dispenses wisdom and the appropriate spice: coriander for sight; turmeric to erase wrinkles; cinnamon for finding friends; fenugreek to make a rejected wife desirable again; chillies for the cleansing of evil. But when a lonely American comes into the store, a troubled Tilo cannot find the right spice, for he arouses in her a forbidden desire, and following her own desires will destroy her magical powers.Compelling and lyrical, full of heady scents and with more than a touch of humour, this novel explores the clash between East and West even as it unveils the universal mysteries of the human heart.

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   Book Review
"...[T]he unique insights into the struggles of Indian-Americans to transcend the gulf between East and West make trudging through some rather plain prose worthwhile."
"All the people in 'The Mistress of Spices' are stock characters....The author is driven by an instructive determinism and she is more interested in role-models than characters. For all its orientalist and New Age trappings, this novel is Brechtian in its use of melodrama to drive home a social message. However, Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni's political vision owes more to Oprah Winfrey than it does to Marx: the solution is counselling, not revolution."
"Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's first novel is a marvelous combination of myth and romance, social critique and poetry."
"Divakaruni has written an unusual, clever and often exquisite first novel that stirs magical realism into the new conventions of culinary fiction and the still-simmering caldron of Indian life in America."
"Divakaruni's prose is so pungent that it stains the page, yet beneath the sights and smells of this brand of magic realism she deftly introduces her true theme: how an ability to accommodate desire enlivens not only the individual heart but a society cornered by change."
"The charming idea of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's lyrical first that there is an appropriate spice to cure every human ill--and we learn about them in a procession of chapters with names like 'Turmeric', 'Fenugreek' and 'Ginger'....'The Mistress of Spices' becomes a novel about choosing between a life of special powers and one of ordinary love and compassion. If Tilo's choice is rather predictable, the way Ms. Divakaruni gets us there is anything but."
Tilo is a middle-aged Indian immigrant trained as a Spice Mistress. She owns a spice shop in Oakland--a magical place where the spices she sells are spiritual essences that can determine one's fate. As a Spice Mistress, she is sworn to celibacy and to devotion to her calling, but Tilo falls in love with Raven, a Native American man in search of his heritage. Tilo joins him in his quest, and her powers decline.
   Publisher's Note
Magical, tantalizing, and sensual, "The Mistress of Spices" tells the story of Tilo, a young woman born in another time in a faraway place who is trained in the ancient art of spices. When Tilo--disguised in the gnarled body of an old woman--travels to present-day Oakland, California, an unexpected romance with a handsome stranger forces her to choose between the supernatural life of an immortal and the vicissitudes of modern life.
Magical, tantalizing, and sensual, The Mistress of Spices is the story of Tilo, a young woman born in another time, in a faraway place, who is trained in the ancient art of spices and ordained as a mistress charged with special powers. Once fully initiated in a rite of fire, the now immortal Tilo--in the gnarled and arthritic body of an old woman--travels through time to Oakland, California, where she opens a shop from which she administers spices as curatives to her customers. An unexpected romance with a handsome stranger eventually forces her to choose between the supernatural life of an immortal and the vicissitudes of modern life. Spellbinding and hypnotizing, The Mistress of Spices is a tale of joy and sorrow and one special woman's magical powers.Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, born in India, is an award-winning poet who teaches creative writing at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, where she also serves as president of MAITRI, a helpline for South Asian women. In 1995 her short story collection Arranged Marriage was awarded the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Prize for Fiction, the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award for Fiction, and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Her fourth poetry collection, Leaving Yuba City, was published by Anchor in August 1997.
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