Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood gNce and you veot the Spice shop in Oakland From the outside it is just another shop from Spice shop in Oakland California From the outside it is another shop from old Indian immigrant lady selling them However it is soon clear that these spices are not only the exotic culinary delights of the Indian cuisine that we loveThe lady of the shop s story begins in India a few centuries before where she is born as Nayan Tara not the prettiest of the children a ifted child who dominates the household since her magic powers enriches the family in their small village near the river She has difficult relationships with her family and wishes to remove herself from the situation She is kidnapped by pirates who soon submit themselves to her control calling her their ueen She lands up on an island where she becomes an "apprentice mistress of spices her name changes to "Mistress of Spices Her name changes to She et to know the secret powers of spices and that she will only be able to use those powers if she submits to the will of the spicesIt is with this name that she transcends into the modern world and opens the Elena's Conquest grocery shop in OaklandThere were strict rules in keeping her magic powers She knows that Aood hand is not too light nor too heavy Light hands are the wind s creatures flung this way and that at its whim Heavy hands pulled downward by their own weight have no spirit They are only slabs of meat for the maggots waiting underground She was to not only serve and assist the immigrants from India but she was never to leave the shop or Sister of My Heart get involved in her customer s lives It worked uite well for her and her regular customers such as the Geetha family Lalitha Haroun Jagjit MrsAhuja But she has a rebellious nature and soon does the same for all her non Indian customers as well She listens to their life stories and mixes spices for them which enhances or change their lives completely She is dignified respectful aloof and subtely demands it in return She also tried to control her impatient nature in some incidencesThen an attractive man Raven half white half Native American The American as she calls him enters the shop Hisrandfather bestowed on him some mystical powers which his mother denied him He soon spills his King Alfred's Version of St. Augustine's Soliloquies guts to her about his childhood and his mother which is vastly different from the life she knew a totally different culture yet a similar kind ofifted background Due to his background he was able to recognize the beautiful young woman in the old lady s bodyHer sense of adventure as well as her rebellious nature kick in She cannot resist his charm which he relentlessly bestow on her and the magic of a very different kind beginsI tell myself I deserve dignity I deserve happinessShe does not lose her magic abilities only the power over the outcomes The potions turn nasty one mixture of chillies causes and earthuake when she tries to destroy it in the river Having the Rescuing Gus gift of magic does not mean that she is happy and when she tries to control her own destiny or make her own choices the repercussions are heavy My fault my fault A refrain so many women the world over have been taught to singThe potion which she mixes for herself to become a beautiful young woman for a day works for her and Raven However she has to choose between a happy yet short life with him or remain the Spice mistress forever It is a light read a interesting blend of realism magic and a modern fairy tale It is not a perfect tale Thankfully it does not have the surreal earth shattering end where the hero runs along a national highway jumping over cars causing accidents yelling as he speeds along Tilla I love you don to which have the entire American nation happily deserting their cars on the highway causing monumental traffic jams and serious accidents having pedestrians joggers and old bag ladies leave their beloved possessions and running along to finally become a stadium full of happy clappie love sick optimists roaring their encouragement when he stops the plane from leaving and the happy Class of 92: Out of Our League girl joyously jumps his bones causing him to fall down and happily break a few ribs and a hip while the crowd cheers and blissfully burst out in tears No it is not that kind of story at allIt also won t dramatically change your life either but will leave you with a feeling ofrowing old is inevitable but Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story growing up is optional Sometimes we just have to release that innocent youngirl in ourselves who never actually deserted us and have her day in our minds The Mistress of Spices is a delightful blend of historical Indian mysticism modern realism cross cultural interpretation of life and experiences immigration issues and magic If you are open for spice adventures told in a dignified slow motion the little How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices Ahead girl in you will enjoy this book on a sunny lazy day out in the fresh open air I can promise you one thing though You will fall in love with spices all over again Magical realism spices and a rebellious heroine It had all the right ingredients but the first halfave me a feeling of something amiss The second half was racy but the ending was too contrive. Terà di aiutare chi come lei si è lasciato l'India alle spalle Nella Bottega della Maga dunue sfilano vite e desideri fatiche e speranze d'immigrati e le spezie con i loro mille minuscoli occhi scrutano ogni esto della loro signor. .
Changes first she s Nayan Tara
the disappointing irl child who s ugly the color of mud but who has psychic iftsdisappointing irl child who s ugly the color of mud but who has psychic ifts make the family s fortune who s ugly the color of mud but who has psychic ifts that make the family s fortune a small village on a river in India She rows up impatient and sullen from all the attention and wills pirates to comes and take her away That happens and she becomes the ueen of the pirates for a while until she travels to the island to meet the First Mother to whom she apprentices herself as a Mistress of Spices taking the name Tila As the novel ends she takes yet another nameThe novel opens with "tila an old dark skinned and wrinkled woman "an old dark skinned and wrinkled woman mistress of spices who runs a small Indian rocery in Oakland CA She listens to the stories of the Indian immigrants who are her customers and prescribes the appropriate spices to ameliorate their problems But she s a rebel and impatient She can t be satisfied following the rules staying inside the store always listening and dispensing advice and spices but not interfering There s the taxi driver who After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 gets involved with shady characters the bride whose husband beats her the young boy who findsang members to protect him from bullies in school in exchange for keeping and delivering mysterious packages there s the Alien Alpha grandfather whose family rejects the daughter who is in love with a Mexican fellow student Tila disobeys the spices exceeds her mission byoing out and etting involved in people s lives About the same time a handsome American turns up in her shop eventually tells his story and a strange love affair develops Using the most powerful of the spices Tila turns herself into a beauty for one day with the Raven as the American calls himselfUnbelievably the story is concluded satisfactorily on both the mythical and the realistic levels The style is original and inviting the first third of the novel so sucked me in that I literally couldn t stop reading This book belongs on a Harleuin Mills Boon bookshelf I picked it up expecting something uite different from the lukewarm and soggy story telling it contained Perhaps the author was aiming for magic realism but ended up with a mishmash of enres and not one that was well developed The story revolves around a woman who had a weird past that has no real connection to her present She inhabits an old body for no ood reason other than she might actually be that old the book meanders about the years and years spent here and there She is supposed to adhere to some rules in order to keep her powers which are knowing the spice remedies for curing emotional maladies but when she breaks them her powers are not taken away in fact she might even be promoted for her intransigence It makes no sense not even symbolically In addition the reader loses all interest after the umpteenth convolution surrounding an old hag in a hole in the wall rocery storeShe falls for some dark haired American and the only reason the author seems to provide is that his clothes look expensive Despite being ood looking himself he loves for no apparent reason and not in a platonic way this old hag in rags And then he kisses her and has sex And then she turns curt with him in the typical self sacrificial mode common to romance novels But it all ends happily ever after though not for me as I was brain dead at that point The language is completely inane and the patois affected by the author leaves one cold Oh dear whatever one says is oing to sound like damnation via faint praise Yes this is magical realism no it isn t as accomplished as the best examples in that enre Yes it is an occasionally beguiling love story no it isn t without its languors and flat spots Yes the end in particular keeps one turning pages to see what happens no it isn t uite as moving and powerful as this reader hoped it would be Entertaining enjoyable not life changing I felt the strongest passages weren t the magical realist touches but Tilo s everyday interactions with the largely Indian American clientele she serves I felt the least believable least convincing material was that having to do with Raven s back story In a way I almost longed for a straight up realist novel something along the lines of Sister of My Heart that focused on this woman and her community I picked the book up on a secondhand book sale and was intrigued by the spices which in retrospect should have been the protagonists in the tale But I always enjoyed the magic flavors of the huge Asian spice markets in South Africa where it is exhibited in heaps and weighed on ancient scales The memories of oing to the Indian markets on a Saturday morning buying flowers fruit vegetables and magical spices combined with an everlasting curiosity about other cultures and stories Beautiful Ghosts got me bowing to the will of The Mistress of Spices The book yelled at me to buy it so to speak and Iracefully surrendered You ve ot to believe a little bit in magic and fairy tales for this book But there is enough realism embedded in the story to keep you captured Add a cup of mysticism and a few pinches of roma. Storia inizia in uno sperduto villaggio indiano dove la rapiscono i pirati attratti dai suoi arcani e misteriosi poteri per portarla su un'isola stregata e meravigliosa Lì Tilo apprende la magia delle spezie che in America le permet. Good idea poorly executed The
poetic language lauded in other reviews is over the top and ets obnoxious uickly Thelanguage lauded in other reviews is over the top and A Year in 120 Recipes gets obnoxious uickly The has an odd form of Tourrete s that makes her spit out similies eyes dark as a tropical night that aren t necessarily half bad but there are so many of them they begin torate The author follows The unimaginative trend Of chopping up sentences Into fragments In the name of art Which wasn t cool even the first time it was done By someone elseThe title character is put in an old woman s body for no real reason other than it seems the author thought an old crone tending a mystical spice shop seemed appropriate And that makes the romance difficult to swallow The spices have arbitrary rules for their Mistress That Seem The spices have arbitrary rules for their Mistress That Seem Merely To Add that seem designed merely to add to the story The stories of the characters she helps are cliches in Indian American writing and each has a neatly packaged simple resolution when the problem is complexview spoiler She causes a destructive earthuake but she F. Scott Fitzgerald gets her man so it s a happy ending ReallyI appreciate the message of a life dedicated to helping others But as a novel it could have been so much hide spoiler I absolutely adored this book I ve read it about ten times since I firstot my hand on it and it s been a companion all through puberty and the rocky university years What s funny then is that it took me so long to realise what this book is really about and what it was that drew me to it First up the writing is like jewels on a page She evokes such beautiful imagery and a wonderful magical universe just with her words one cannot help but be swept away in its beauty Secondly it s sort of an allegory for a woman who is trying to marry two cultures together Or perhaps this another layer that I saw when I was The Devil Hath Been Raised: A Documentary History of the Salem Village Witchcraft Outbreak of March 1692; Together With a Collection of Newly Located and Gathered Witchcraft Documents going through some similarly tough circumstancesIuess it doesn t really matter I identified with the central conflict of this book s main character I felt her pain and frustration and anger from the moment I picked up the book and I believe this is Divakaruni s real Boudica: The Life and Legends of Britain's Warrior Queen gift the ability to create magic with words I have noticed that a few of her other books tend toet weighed down with the language For example Sister of my Heart Vine of Desire and Arranged Marriage all of these books are incredibly sad and downright draining to read The language is just as beautiful and evocative but perhaps overdone In Mistress of Spices she really seems to hit her stride and the balance is spot on Sorry this review is a bit all over the place but TL DR I loved it and would recomment it to most people I was expecting of this book I picked it up randomly at the library because I am intrigued by Indian cooking and their creative use of spices I liked the soft poetic language of the first pages but it was a weak book The skeleton that the magical language hung on was weak and porous It seemed immediately to be derivitive an inferior version of Like Water for Chocolate If you like magical realism read that one instead I probably wouldn t have read this if I hadn t been introduced to Ms Divakaruni by a former student who was taking a class from her and loved her I always feel as though I should read people s books if I ve met them which has otten me stuck with some duds Fortunately this wasn t one of them With a writing style that s both conversational and lyrical Divakaruni engulfs you in a heady blend of mysticism romance and realism as complex and sensual as the spices she writes about The story takes place in a little shop in Oakland of all places where an old woman named Tilo sells spices Ostensibly she suggests spices to flavor dishes but secretly they treat the spiritual ailments of her customers Becausemystical background musicTilo isn t really an old woman she s an immortal Mistress of Spices in disguise endowed with special powers to see into people s souls and heal them through the spices that both aid and rule her The story of her magical apprenticeship you re not just born a Mistress of Spices is beautifully balanced with stories of her customers and their struggles with family love work or navigating a new country The storyline was unusual but almost as unexpected for me was to see Oakland as a city with interesting neighborhood characters not just as an ugly crime capital that I drive through only if I absolutely have to or if I miss the 680 turnoff and et stuck on 880 Anyway I thought this book was as delightful as it was intriguing Misty fragrant intoxicating mythical spicyI have read almost all books of Chitra Banerjee and each read makes me crave for her intriguing characters colorful stories and much are like bites from your faviorite dish which you eat o I nominated this for my f2f book roup because I was curious The author lives in Houston and is a friend of a friend I was expecting a relatively simple domestic novel but was pleasantly surprised to find a dazzlingly original example of magical realismThe main character doesn t even have a stable name It changes as her life. Una vecchia signora indiana in una botteguccia di Oakland California con le sue mani nodose sfiora polveri e semi foglie e bacche alla ricerca del sapore più suisito o del sortilegio più sottile E' Tilo la Maga delle Spezie La sua.