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The Henna Artist: A Novel Hardcover – March 3, 2020
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--Sujata Massey, internationally bestselling author of The Satapur Moonstone and The Widows of Malabar Hill
“Rich in detail and bright with tastes and textures, The Henna Artist is a fabulous glimpse into Indian culture of the 1950s.”—Bookpage, Starred Review
“Eloquent debut…moving… Joshi masterfully balances a yearning for self-discovery with the need for familial love.” –Publishers Weekly
"Vibrant characters, evocative imagery, and sumptuous prose create an unforgetable tale."--Christian Science Monitor
“Joshi has constructed a bewitching glimpse into the past with a tough heroine well worth cheering on.”--Booklist
"The Henna Artist is a bold, ambitious, beautifully written novel about India in the decade after independence, and about class, identity, love and deceit. The broad cast of characters will etchthemselves into your psyche." --Tom Barbash, author of Stay Up With Me
"Fantastic, so evocative and beautiful and full of life and light.... The Henna Artist is detailed and sumptuous, vivid in its characters and deeply satisfying in its storytelling."--Leah Franqui, author of America for Beginners
"Alka Joshi's superb first novel is unforgettable.... Read this book slowly and savor it: Every page is rich with intricate pleasures for both the mind and the heart."--Anita Amirrezvani, author of The Blood of Flowers
"Like a brilliant, magical kaleidoscope, bursting with color, The Henna Artist kept me riveted from start to finish."--Lauren Belfer, NYT bestselling author of After the Fire and City of Light
"Everything a great novel needs is here: The protagonist balancing impossible burdens with her bountiful talents; the many other characters, each so colorful and complex, each necessary to the intricate and delicate plot, Such a satisfying novel!"--Sandra Scofield, author of The Last Draft
"Alka Joshi's debut novel is a richly drawn design of love and the many hungers that drive human beings...a lush, gorgeous journey that any reader will be sorry to see end."--Erin McGraw, author of The Good Life and The Seamstress of Hollywood
"The Henna Artist is a delicious, old-fashioned tale about timeless heartaches. There's something elemental and mythic about Lakshmi and her knowledge of spices, roots, oils, and barks that drew me into the kind of world I gladly lived in when reading fairy tales as a child, a place inhabited by powerful queens, talking birds, magical drinks, orphans, sad princesses, clever servants, and dangerous poisons. I'm in awe of Joshi's storytelling and a little jealous of the character who winds up with the talking bird. “Namaste!” as he says. “Bonjour! Welcome!”---Laura McNeal, author of The Practice House
About the Author
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A few years ago, I spent several weeks in northern India, including Jaipur. While the story takes place in 1955, many things remain much the same (riding in trains and rickshaws, street markets and foods, ever-present images of Ganesh, arranged marriages, limited prospects for rural and lower caste Indians). Joshi’s very authentic and detailed descriptions of characters, places and events brought back so many memories.
Central to her story are a number of issues that have impacted human beings the world over for centuries (abortion, socio-economic inequalities, women’s rights or lack thereof). She constantly doles out new information and backstory, resulting in a cast of multi-layered characters and a riveting tale.
My favorite book in the last year of reading!