Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Mistress of the Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

A wild mixture of romance, magic and tragedy this book almost defies definition. Tilo's life has been one of change, and now she has vowed to help those who come to her by employing the aid of the different spices in her shop. But vows can be very hard to keep when you have your own needs and desires.

The immigrant experience in America is wonderful realised in this novel and juxtaposed to great effect with the idyll of Tilo's mystical island. The descriptions of people, places and perfumes give the reader a full sense of Tilo's world.

The book is one to savour and wonder over. Tilo's relationship with the people who come into her shop, her relationship with the new land in which she finds herself and her relationship with the spices themselves are powerful and beautiful.

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