2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale
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Description

Product Description

A classic work of magical realism, this bestselling novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni tells the story of Tilo, a young woman from another time who has a gift for the mystical art of spices.

Now immortal, and living in the gnarled and arthritic body of an old woman, Tilo has set up shop in Oakland, California, where she administers curatives to her customers.  But when she''s surprised by an unexpected romance with a handsome stranger, she must choose between everlasting life and the vicissitudes of modern society.  Spellbinding and hypnotizing, The Mistress of Spices is a tale of joy, sorrow, and one special woman''s magical powers.

Review

"An unusual, clever, and often exquisite first novel...The result is rather as if Isabel Allende met Laura Esquivel."
--Los Angeles Times

"Divakaruni''s prose is so pungent that it stains the page, yet beneath the sighs 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 New Yorker

" The Mistress of Spices is a dazzling tale of misbegotten dreams and desires, hopes and expectations, woven with poetry and storyteller magic."
--Amy Tan

"A splendid novel, beautifully conceived and crafted."
--Pat Conroy

From the Publisher

"An unusual, clever, and often exquisite first novel...The result is rather as if Isabel Allende met Laura Esquivel."
--Los Angeles Times

"Divakaruni''s prose is so pungent that it stains the page, yet beneath the sighs 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 New Yorker

"The Mistress of Spices is a dazzling tale of misbegotten dreams and desires, hopes and expectations, woven with poetry and storyteller magic."
--Amy Tan

"A splendid novel, beautifully conceived and crafted."
--Pat Conroy

From the Inside Flap

talizing, 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 MAIT

From the Back Cover

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.

About the Author

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the author of the novels Queen of Dreams, The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, Before We Visit the Goddess, One Amazing Thing, Oleander Girl, and The Vine of Desire, and of the prizewinning story collections Arranged Marriage and The Unknown Errors of Our Lives. She lives in Houston, Texas, and teaches creative writing at the University of Houston.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I am a Mistress of Spices.

I can work the others too.  Mineral, metal, earth and sand and stone.  The gems with their cold clear light.  The liquids that burn their hues into your eyes till you see nothing else.  I learned them all on the island.

But the spices are my love.

I know their origins, and what their colors signify, and their smells.  I can call each by the true-name it was given at the first, when earth split like skin and offered it up to the sky.  Their heat runs in my blood.  From amchur to zafran, they bow to my command.  At a whisper they yield up to me their hidden properties, their magic powers.

Yes, they all hold magic, even the everyday American spices you toss unthinking into your cooking pot.

You doubt?  Ah.  You have forgotten the old secrets your mother''s mothers knew.  Here is one of them again: Vanilla beans soaked soft in goat''s milk and rubbed on the wristbone can guard against the evil eye.  And here another: A measure of pepper at the foot of the bed, shaped into a crescent, cures you of nightmare.

But the spices of true power are from my birthland, land of ardent poetry, aquamarine feathers.  Sunset skies brilliant as blood.

They are the ones I work with.

If you stand in the center of this room and turn slowly around, you will be looking at every Indian spice that ever was--even the lost ones--gathered here upon the shelves of my store.

I think I do not exaggerate when I say there is no other place in the world quite like this.   The store has been here only for a year.  But already many look at it and think it was always.

I can understand why.  Turn the crooked corner of Esperanza where the Oakland buses hiss to a stop and you''ll see it.  Perfect-fitted between the narrow barred door of Rosa''s Weekly Hotel, still blackened from a year-ago fire, and Lee Ying''s Sewing Machine and Vacuum Cleaner Repair, with the glass cracked between the R and the e.  Grease-smudged window.  Looped letters that say spice bazaar faded into a dried-mud brown.  Inside, walls veined with cobwebs where hang discolored pictures of the gods, their sad shadow eyes.  Metal bins with the shine long gone from them, heaped with atta and Basmati rice and masoor dal.  Row upon row of videomovies, all the way back to the time of black-and-white.  Bolts of fabric dyed in age-old colors, New Year yellow, harvest green, bride''s luck red.

And in the corners accumulated among dustballs, exhaled by those who have entered here, the desires.  Of all things in my store, they are the most ancient.  For even here in this new land America, this city which prides itself on being no older than a heartbeat, it is the same things we want, again and again.

I too am a reason why.  I too look like I have been here forever.  This is  what the customers see as they enter, ducking under plastic-green mango leaves strung over the door for luck: a bent woman with skin the color of old sand, behind a glass counter that holds mithai, sweets out of their  childhoods.  Out of their mothers'' kitchens.  Emerald-green burfis, rasogollahs white as dawn and, made from lentil flour,   laddus like nuggets of gold.  It seems right that I should have been  here always, that I should understand without words their longing for the ways they chose to leave behind when they chose America.  Their shame for that  longing, like the bitter-slight aftertaste in the mouth when one has chewed amlaki to freshen the breath.

They do not know, of course.  That I am not old, that this seeming-body I took on in Shampati''s fire when I vowed to become a Mistress is not mine.  I claim its creases and gnarls no more than water claims the ripples that wrinkle it.  They do not see, under the hooded lids, the eyes which shine for a moment--I need no forbidden mirror (for mirrors are forbidden to Mistresses) to tell me this--like dark fire.  The eyes which alone are my own.

No.  One more thing is mine.  My name which is Tilo, short for Tilottama, for I am named after the sun-burnished sesame seed, spice of nourishment.  They do not know this, my customers, nor that earlier I had other names.

Sometimes it fills me with a heaviness, lake of black ice, when I think that across the entire length of this land not one person knows who I am.


Then I tell myself, No matter.  It is better this way.

"Remember," said the Old One, the First Mother, when she trained us on the island.  "You are not important.  No Mistress is.  What is important is the store.  And the spices."

The store.  Even for those who know nothing of the inner room with its sacred, secret shelves, the store is an excursion into the land of might-have-been.  A self-indulgence dangerous for a brown people who come from elsewhere, to whom real Americans might say Why?

Ah, the pull of that danger.

They love me because they sense I understand this.  They hate me a little for it too.

And then, the questions I ask.  To the plump woman dressed in polyester pants and a Safeway tunic, her hair coiled in a tight bun as she bends over a small hill of green chilies searching earnestly: "Has your husband found another job since the layoff."

To the young woman who hurries in with a baby on her hip to pick up some dhania jeera powder: "The bleeding, is it bad still, do you want something for it."

I can see the electric jolt of it go through each one''s body, the same every time.  Almost I would laugh if the pity of it did not tug at me so.  Each face startling up as though I had put my hands on the delicate oval of jaw and cheekbone and turned it toward me.  Though of course I did not.  It is not allowed for Mistresses to touch those who come to us.  To upset the delicate axis of giving and receiving on which our lives are held precarious.

For a moment I hold their glance, and the air around us grows still and heavy.  A few chilies drop to the floor, scattering like hard green rain.  The child twists in her mother''s tightened grip, whimpering.

Their glance skittery with fear with wanting.

Witchwoman, say the eyes.  Under their lowered lids they remember the stories whispered around night fires in their home villages.

"That''s all for today," one woman tells me, wiping her hands on nubby polyester thighs, sliding a package of chilies at me.

"Shhh baby little rani," croons the other, busies herself with the child''s tangled curls until I have rung up her purchases.

They keep their cautious faces turned away as they leave.

But they will come back later.  After darkness.  They will knock on the shut door of the store that smells of their desires and ask.

I will take them into the inner room, the one with no windows, where I keep the purest spices, the ones I gathered on the island for times of special need.  I will light the candle I keep ready and search the soot-streaked dimness for lotus root and powdered methi, paste of fennel and sun-roasted asafetida.  I will chant.  I will administer.  I will pray to remove sadness and suffering as the Old One taught.  I will deliver warning.

This is why I left the island where each day still is melted sugar and cinnamon, and birds with diamond throats sing, and silence when it falls is light as mountain mist.

Left it for this store, where I have brought together everything you need in order to be happy.

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4 out of 54 out of 5
422 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Sophia D-H
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
For those that love myths and legends
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2018
This book is haunting me. Recommended by a friend of mine, I was excited to read it since I enjoyed Before We Meet the Goddess so much. It was the one book that I took with me on vacation. The rhythm and cadence of the language really sets the tone and shapes the main... See more
This book is haunting me. Recommended by a friend of mine, I was excited to read it since I enjoyed Before We Meet the Goddess so much. It was the one book that I took with me on vacation. The rhythm and cadence of the language really sets the tone and shapes the main character. The story is fantastical and the language, if you follow it, leads you along as if it is telling you a myth or a legend. It someone makes the story more poignant. It also allows the story to shift back and forth between past and present until about a 1/3 of the way through, when it shifts firmly into the present. I really liked the story with the exception of the end. For some reason it did not flow for me. Maybe it is simply the disruption of a path that the story has been heading down for many pages that I find jarring. Regardless, it brings into sharp relief the impact that other people’s stories can have on your own. The result is, as I said, haunting.
5 people found this helpful
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Erin
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Difficult Read
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2016
This book was difficult for me. The author is a brilliant writer, full of imaginative and descriptive settings and characters. However, it required a good deal of slow and concentrated reading for me to try to figure out what was happening (and much of the time I did not... See more
This book was difficult for me. The author is a brilliant writer, full of imaginative and descriptive settings and characters. However, it required a good deal of slow and concentrated reading for me to try to figure out what was happening (and much of the time I did not succeed). The closest I can get to understanding the characters and the plot is that the book may be an extended metaphor for the spiritual and superstitious beliefs of the Indian culture or perhaps a philosophy of the nature of life put in a mythical setting.
5 people found this helpful
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J. Morris
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The story made me want to finish reading it.
Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 1999
This is the story of Tilo, a young woman who has been trained in the ancient art of spices and ordained as a mistress charged with special powers. As the mistress, she inhabits a crone''s body, but the man who falls in love with her can see her the way she really is... See more
This is the story of Tilo, a young woman who has been trained in the ancient art of spices and ordained as a mistress charged with special powers. As the mistress, she inhabits a crone''s body, but the man who falls in love with her can see her the way she really is through her eyes.
As one of the reviews says it is a marvelous combination of myth and romance. After some puzzlement with the story line, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was interesting that as the mistress she was not allowed to leave the shop. I have a personal problem with any additional restrictions being place on women, even in this context. But, on each occasion that she went beyond her limitations as a mistress to help someone nothing really bad happened to her, so I guess "its all good". Has anyone used any of the spices mentioned in this book? They sell Fenugreek here in the Commissary, but the bottle does not say what its used for, in the book it says its "renders the body sweet again, ready for loving."
6 people found this helpful
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Margaret K. Saxon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Magical
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2019
I have rarely enjoyed a book as much as this one- it transported me to another world adjacent to this one , believable and magical . I loved the author''s use of voice and character development, and her knowledge of herbs and Indian culture- Thank you to her!
2 people found this helpful
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Otrain
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautiful and predictable
Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2021
It was a great vacation read. Very predictable but very nicely written. Loved the spices explanations and the remedies that they can create. Very creative.
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J. Duncan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Exquisitely beautiful writing
Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2020
! I look forward to reading more by the author. Rarely do I find language that is so wonderfully crafted and concisely conveys a feeling!
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Cathy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Language in Motion
Reviewed in the United States on February 4, 2014
Pure poetry. Magical words. Mystical insights. There is also a good plot, likable characters and a look into a different culture and perspective. Mistress of Spices should be on every book club list. I originally read the book several years ago. I bought this copy for my... See more
Pure poetry. Magical words. Mystical insights. There is also a good plot, likable characters and a look into a different culture and perspective. Mistress of Spices should be on every book club list. I originally read the book several years ago. I bought this copy for my dear daughter-in-law. It is a used book and turns out it is autographed. Another Gift. Read the sample. You won''t be sorry if you love words.
2 people found this helpful
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Michelle Boytim
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The spices can give, but they can also take away
Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2012
As a child, Tilo came into her magical powers, which greatly benefited her family. A careless wish for a different life leads to her being taken by pirates, where she is rescued by creatures of the sea and deposited on an island where young girls are chosen to become a... See more
As a child, Tilo came into her magical powers, which greatly benefited her family. A careless wish for a different life leads to her being taken by pirates, where she is rescued by creatures of the sea and deposited on an island where young girls are chosen to become a Mistress of Spice where she eventually chooses to be sent to Oakland, CA. Her history is told in flashback, and we see how her nature and choices lead her to break the rules; sometimes for her clients and also for herself. She is intrigued by an American man who seems to see her inner beauty rather than her physical appearance as an old woman. Interwoven with Tilo''s story are those of the Indian immigrants for whom she provides her services. We see their struggles to get ahead and adapt to life in America while keeping something of their culture. Tilo puts herself in jeopardy and if the spices go against her she may end up paying the ultimate penalty, not only for herself, but for those she has grown to care for as well. Filled with imagery and descriptions of spices, I wished that I could have felt more for Tilo as a character. Nonetheless, the story was well written and quite interesting.
4 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

BookWorm
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Readable but underlying concept didn''t ''click'' with me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 18, 2020
I described this to a friend as ''Chocolat, but with spices'' - although that''s not quite the whole story. There are certainly similarities with Joanne Harris'' famous novel. A woman in a small community runs a shop selling food products, and uses magical abilities to help her...See more
I described this to a friend as ''Chocolat, but with spices'' - although that''s not quite the whole story. There are certainly similarities with Joanne Harris'' famous novel. A woman in a small community runs a shop selling food products, and uses magical abilities to help her clients through her creations. However in ''Mistress of Spices'' the magic is much more overt and deliberate and the character has been placed there by some sort of mystical grocer. The problem with formalising the magic in such a book is that unless you do it very thoroughly and clearly, readers are left picking holes or feeling confused. There was a lot that didn''t really make sense to me - where did the ''spice mistresses'' come from and why weren''t they allowed to love/get involved with people? What was the point of it all? Why did spices seem to have special powers and be able to speak? The narrator, Tilo, the spice mistress herself, is a likeable character and as you''d expect the descriptive writing is excellent, evoking the smells, colours and textures of the spices. For me though, the underlying concept didn''t really make sense and I found it hard to engage with the storyline. I also felt the love story element moved too quickly and went too easily. All in all it was an enjoyable read but not a book that bears very close scrutiny and I suspect not one that will stick with me.
4 people found this helpful
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Eli
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A special book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 20, 2019
Mysterious and lovely book, but a bit disappointing(the setting in USA was boring and drab). I wish the book left me with a more cozy and exotic feeling, but because of the setting I kind of felt the gray light seep through everything. I’d appreciate the book more if the...See more
Mysterious and lovely book, but a bit disappointing(the setting in USA was boring and drab). I wish the book left me with a more cozy and exotic feeling, but because of the setting I kind of felt the gray light seep through everything. I’d appreciate the book more if the shop of spices kind of stood out as a safe and warm place, but the unimaginative setting in a gray town in USA ruins it a little bit for me. The author’s language is truly wonderful though and I love the chapters set on the island.
3 people found this helpful
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Elizabeth Frazer
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not bad, just not for me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 20, 2019
I liked the idea of the book even though mystical is not really my thing; however by the end of it I was pleased it had finished. I liked the spice aspect of it and the idea of her being sort of supernatural, but I did not quite believe in the romance, or the back story of...See more
I liked the idea of the book even though mystical is not really my thing; however by the end of it I was pleased it had finished. I liked the spice aspect of it and the idea of her being sort of supernatural, but I did not quite believe in the romance, or the back story of the beloved.
One person found this helpful
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Yasmin Deboo
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 2, 2019
Just did not enjoy the story....; has great reviews but I was disappointed.
One person found this helpful
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JustineMitchell
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good book but darker in tone than the film.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 17, 2016
Good book. A little darker in tone than the subsequent film and doesn''t necessarily have the same feel good factor. Nevertheless, it still captures the mystery and magic and filled in the gaps that the film left behind.
One person found this helpful
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2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale

2021 discount The online Mistress of Spices: A wholesale Novel outlet sale