On a mythic island of women "where on our skin, the warm rain fell like pomegranate seeds" powerful spices like cinnamon, turmeric, and fenugreek whisper their secrets to young acolytes. Ordained after trial by fire, each new spice mistress is sent to a far-off land to cure the life pains of all Indian seekers, while keeping a cool distance from the mortals. Only stubborn, passionate Tilo, disguised as an old woman merchant in present-day Oakland, California, fails to heed the vengeful spices' warnings. Fragrant with spice and sensuality, this winning tale rolls off the tongue. Written in the soaring, poetic tradition of China Men
and Haroun and the Sea of Stories
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From Library Journal
Divakaruni, author of the award-winning short story collection Arranged Marriage (Anchor, 1995), has crafted a fine first novel that makes a smooth transition to the audio format. Tilo, proprietress of the Spice Bazaar in Oakland, California, is not the elderly Indian woman she appears to be. Trained as a mistress of spices, she evokes the magical powers of the spices of her homeland to help her customers. These customers, mostly first- or second-generation immigrants, are struggling to adapt their Old World ideals to the unfamiliar and often unkind New World. Though trapped in an old woman's body and forbidden to leave the store, Tilo is unable to keep the required distance from her patrons' lives. Her yearning to join the world of mortals angers the spices, and Tilo must face the dire consequences of her disobedience. Divakaruni, whose conversational style translates well into audio, blends social commentary and romance into an eloquent novel of the human condition. With superb narration from Sarita Choudhury, this production is highly recommended for all fiction collections.?Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., Ohio
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