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The Mistress of Spices

A Novel

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Paperback published by Anchor (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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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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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.
Product Details
Paperback (352 pages)
Published: February 17, 1998
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Anchor
ISBN: 9780385482387
Other books byChitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • The Palace of Illusions

    The Palace of Illusions
    A Novel
    Taking us back to a time that is half history, half myth and wholly magical, The Palace of Illusions gives new voice to Panchaali, the fire-born heroine of the Mahabharat, as she weaves a vibrant interpretation of an ancient tale. Married to five royal husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom, Panchaali aids their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war. But she cannot deny her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna—or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy—as she is caught up in the ever-manipulating hands of fate. From the Trade Paperback edition.

    Queen of Dreams

    Queen of Dreams
    From the bestselling author of Sister of My Heart comes a spellbinding tale of mothers and daughters, love and cultural identity. Rakhi, a young painter and single mother, is struggling to come to terms with her relationship with ex-husband Sonny, a hip Bay Area DJ, and with her dream-teller mother, who has rarely spoken about her past or her native India. Rakhi has her hands full, juggling a creative dry spell, raising her daughter, and trying to save the Berkeley teahouse she and her best friend Belle own. But greater challenges are to come. When a national tragedy turns her world upside down and Rakhi needs her mother’s strength and wisdom more than ever, she loses her in a freak car accident. But uncovering her mother’s dream journals allows Rakhi to discover her mother’s long-kept secrets and sacrifices–and ultimately to confront her fears, forge a new relationship with her father, and revisit Sonny’s place in her heart.

    The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming

    The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming
    Anand's mentor and spiritual guide, the Master Healer Abhaydatta, seems to be in grave danger. Should he simply convey this information to his elders and waste precious time or should he take matters into his own hands?Readers familiar with Anand from Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's acclaimed novel, The Conch Bearer, will know what choice he makes. In doing so, he embarks on a spectacular adventure that takes him not only across contemporary India but also several hundred years into the past, to Bengal in the time of the Muslim nawabs, where he encounters powerful sorcerers, a haughty and arrogant young prince, and a jinn capable of unspeakable evil. Joining him is his old friend Nisha, in this world transformed into a young lady of noble birth.Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni once again weaves a vibrant tapestry of action, suspense, and rare beauty. Fans of The Conch Bearer, as well as listeners new to her work, will be entranced.

    The Unknown Errors of Our Lives

    The Unknown Errors of Our Lives
    Stories
    In nine poignant stories spiked with humor and intelligence, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni captures lives at crossroad moments–caught between past and present, home and abroad, tradition and fresh experience. A widow in California, recently arrived from India, struggles to adapt to a world in which neighbors are strangers and her domestic skills are deemed superfluous in the award-winning “Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter.” In “The Intelligence of Wild Things,” a woman from Sacramento visits her brother in Vermont to inform him that back in Calcutta their mother is dying. And in the title story, a painter looks to ancient myth and the example of her grandmother for help in navigating her first real crisis of faith. Knowing, compassionate and expertly rendered, the stories in The Unknown Errors of Our Lives depict the eternal struggle to find a balance between the pull of home and the allure of change.

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