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The Mistress Of Spices Paperback – 5 Feb 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (5 Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055299670X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552996709
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"For ARRANGED MARRIAGE, 'As irresistible as the impulse which leads her characters to surface to maturity, raising their heads above the floods of silver ignorance'" New York Times Book Review

Book Description

An exotic, magical novel by a young Indian immigrant to the US.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Purple on 28 Aug 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a must read for anyone with a love of beauty. The main character is a woman of wisdom and passion. Tilos' realtionship with the mysterious spices she sells is inspired and enlighting. While working in her spice shop in America she tries to help each customer by suppling them with the exact spice that will help them find a way through what ever difficulties they face. Tilo does this by having been trained to listern to the wisdom of the spices that whisper to her each day.
The book is written in a deceptivly simple style that allows the author to draw you in and give all the characters shape and substance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Smurthwaite on 2 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
There are books that, although nothing much happens, they still give the impression of many things bubbling under the surface - this is one of them. Not dissimilar to Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic, this is a story of the magic in the mundane, only in this case, rather than trying to fit in and be "normal", the narrator tries desperately to hang onto her mystery and magic, all the while battling her own desires in order to remain a Mistress of Spices. It's a voyage of self-discovery, of living in a foreign land and trying to maintain the elements of home in a new country. It's also, ultimately, a story of hope - that perhaps a woman really can have it all if she dares.

The style is at once flowing and jarring; a mix of flowing thought and halting speech that feels both familiar and foreign - a novel of extreme contrasts. The characters are fragile and all too human, afraid of losing their roots, but hoping for a better life in America than they had in India. There's something absolutely charming about this story that I can't quite put my finger on, almost as if one was under a spell while reading it that lingers after you've finished the last page. Absorbing, exotic and mysterious.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Oct 2001
Format: Paperback
One of the most wonderful books I have ever read. The language is beautifully evocative. The story transports you into a magical fantasy world within a grim and gritty reality. This is a modern myth in the making. The author has created an oasis of sensual spices that you can practically smell and taste and touch. I literally got lost in this book, I was so immersed in its colour and creativity. Every time I get disillusioned with life, I escape into this warm, cosy haven of a book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
This book seems so promising and enticing yet ultimately the author fails to deliver. Somewhere half-way through,the magic fades,the Indian woman in America fails to convince us of her Indianness and the fantasy she weaves so well in the beginning begins to pall. But most irritating of all the dialogue does not ring true. The constant use of the present continuous tense in the book by Indians who are not 'Americanised' is extremely irritating. What a shame - because the story idea was a wonderful one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wt Edwards on 9 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
Really, one of the best books i have ever read. Tells and learns you all about the spices, really intriguing, and so very well written. A very knowledgable and clever author, I look forward to reading her other books.
One can almost smell the spices! A real magical read. Highly recommended.
W Edwards, Riyadh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Malsingh on 12 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I was really excited by the start of this book. I love the idea of a little wizened old lady in a spice shop secretly helping out customers with the power of the spices, whilst hiding her real identity. It is well written and magical. However, the ending is disappointing. As the book goes on, it becomes more of a romance novel and loses some of its charm. Basically, it comes down to a choice - the main character can be a powerful, helpful, magical "mistress of spices" or she can be in love and have her man. Whilst you can see where the author is going with this, you still can't help but feel a little disappointed when the main character makes her choice.
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By FAMOUS NAME VINE VOICE on 25 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback
I was merely curious when I purchased this book, and so my expectations were not that great. However, having started to read it, I soon began to feel that this was going to be very good - and I wasn't disappointed! Do not be misled by either the cover or synopsis of this particular read, as it is so much more exciting than is subtlety hinted at. The story is absorbing, and is dealing with some very strong and natural desires of a fantastical world, and often in an unsentimental way, yet is still very moving.

I was really living the life of this old lady after only a few chapters and everything she thinks and feels and yearns for became my own craving, and one cannot but help to become part of her character as the novel unfolds. Though little appears to be said about each character's background (personality-wise) it is extremely simple to create visions of these people. I was constantly in anticipation as to how this story would end, and thought it very predictable, but apart from being totally wrong in my guessing at the outcome, it was far more abrupt than I could have ever expected - I kept looking to see if I'd lost a page!

I cannot help but recommend this book to anyone who wishes to read something refreshingly different and totally wonderful.

Definitely five stars!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L-Y-H on 28 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a book which had me totally absorbed with it's magic and intrigue at the very beginning, but which then proceeded to totally destroy this all in the last part of the story. It is so disappointing as the end is like a bad trashy blockbuster - cheesy, a complete cop-out and doesn't fit the rest of the book at all. I felt as if I had totally wasted all those hours reading it. Don't bother!
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