Other Sellers on Amazon
Follow the Author
Jasmine: 30th anniversary edition Paperback – April 5, 1999
Enhance your purchase
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
ONE OF TIME’ S “30 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU’RE 30”
“Mukherjee gives us the gift of being allowed to see ourselves in all our inconsistencies . . . To build our hearts so they might always reflect, like Jasmine, what it means to carry what is fraught and scared and dismissive and hopeful and wild inside us, and choose love.” ―Mira Jacob, from the new introduction
When Jasmine was first published the New York Times called it “one of the most suggestive novels we have about what it is to become an American.” Thirty years later, Jasmine has only grown in its significance. Following one woman through her numerous identities ― from Jyoti in a small village in Punjab, to Jasmine in Jalandhar, to Jase in Manhattan, to Jane in Iowa ― Mukherjee gives us an iconic character whose journey through shifting landscapes necessitates her shifting selves. What she encounters on this path, from India to America and from girlhood to womanhood, shows the beauty and darkness and revelation inherent in the journeys of all those who not only want to survive, but to grow.
With a new introduction by Mira Jacob for this thirtieth-anniversary edition, Jasmine is a masterful examination of identity, immigration, and sexuality from the “Matriarch of Indian-American literature.” (Literary Hub)
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now.
“Her prose fiction is masterful, giving us a perspective on a singular life imagined with impeccable care and judgment.” ―Joyce Carol Oates
“A fable, a kind of impressionistic prose-poem, about being an exile, a refugee, a spiritual vagabond in the world today; Mukherjee has eloquently succeeded.” ―New York Times
From the Back Cover
Jasmine's metamorphosis, with its sudden upheavals and its slow evolutionary steps, illuminates the making of an American mind; but even more powerfully, her story depicts the shifting contours of an America being transformed by her and others like her-our new neighbors, friends, and lovers. In Jasmine, Bharati Mukherjee has created a heroine as exotic and unexpected as the many worlds in which she lives.
"Rich . . . One of the most suggestive novels we have about what it is to be come an American."-The New York Times Book Review
"Engrossing . . . Mukherjee once again presents all the shock, pain and liberation of exile and transformation. . . . With the uncanny third eye of the artist, Mukherjee forces us to see our country anew."-USA Today
"A fable, a kind of impressionistic prose-poem, about being an exile, a refugee, a spiritual vagabond in the world today; Mukherjee has eloquently succeeded."-The New York Times
"A beautiful novel, poetic, exotic, perfectly controlled."-San Francisco Chronicle Born in Calcutta and now a distinguished professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Bharati Mukherjee was the first naturalized American citizen to win the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, for her book The Middleman and Other Stories. She is also the author of Leave It to Me, The Holder of the World, Darkness, The Tiger's Daughter, and Wife. Bharati Mukherjee lives in San Francisco.
- Publisher : Grove Press; 2nd edition (April 5, 1999)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0802136303
- ISBN-13 : 978-0802136305
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.56 x 0.69 x 8.23 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #589,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story is about a young woman named Jyoti. Jyoti grows up in India and is eventually married, and living a happy life with a young husband that she loves. However, a tragic attack widows Joyoti and she decides that she will fulfill her husband's dream of going to America for school. She enters America illegally, and her journey as an immigrant is one of bleakness. When she arrives in America, she starts calling herself Jasmine. She eventually starts working for a family with one child as a live-in-nanny. As it turns out, she falls in love with the husband, and when the couple separates it seems like Jasmine can once again be happy. Instead, she flees to Iowa, where she ends up marrying a man named Bud. The couple adopts a Vietnamese boy named Du and Jasmine, now going by the name Jane, ends up pregnant with Bud's child. Again, more bleakness --and she realizes she loved Taylor (her former employer) all along. At the end of the novel, she gets to decide if she wants to stay with Bud or flee to California with Taylor and his daughter.
Overall, this is a good book about immigration, identity, and how hard it is for "outsiders" to fully engage with American culture. There are several scenes within the novel that are wonderful in expressing the turmoil female immigrants face--specifically in terms of sexual assault. But all of the scenes that present this material are in the front half of the book. Even though the novel goes back and forth between three stories (the three different times in her life), the first half of the book is still far more engaging than the second half. For me, the last half of the book seemed to drag on, and I actually ended up deducting a star for this.
I think there are several genres that this book stands out in: Indian literature, immigration studies, stories about identity, etc. But that doesn't mean that this book should be over-praised just because it is a breakout Indian novel. There is still a lot that is lacking for me to give it more than 3 stars. For example, I'm not really sure how strong a heroine Jasmine actually is. She seems to run from her troubles, and never seems to want to settle anywhere--in fact, even by the conclusion of the book I'm still unsure if she has finally decided what she wants her life in America to look like. Again, the second half of the novel also drags on a bit, and while I was somewhat interested in the Iowan farmer's problems that are brought up in the second part of the novel, this sub-plot also seems a bit unnecessary.
Is it a good book? Absolutely. But I don't think that it needs all of the hype that it has been given. There are certainly (to date) some other books that deal with issues of identity, immigration, assimilation, etc., that have clearer story lines (though not Indian literature). Did I enjoy reading it? I loved the first half, but the second half was just okay. Is this something that you may get assigned in class? Yes. But that doesn't mean that everyone is going to fall in love with this book. As much as I wanted to love this book, I set it down just feeling kind of okay with it.
Jasmine is faced with much turmoil and many choices, none of which are easy. Her life is far from conventional, but it says volumes about what it must be like to forge a new life in a new place with an identity that even she is not certain of.
I found that the ending was a little abrupt, but other than this, I have no complaints. Mukherjee is a vivid and serious writer, one who will leave you with an often times visceral reaction.
Warning: I have heard some complaints about the beginning chapters being mildly confusing concerning character introductions, but I assure you, if you stick with it, what she is doing will become clear quite quickly. This author's technique of introducing characters is very unique and effective and gives the reader a real sense of time without being exactly linear.
Mukherjee also does an excellent job of portraying the modern immigrant experience -- through a compelling tale.
Top reviews from other countries
It didn’t quite work for me. I found it confusing at first; the names of people appear without revealing who they are because of the way the book is structured. I liked that I got an insight into the perils encountered by an illegal immigrant and a different perspective on the Land of the Free. Like London it’s streets are not paved with gold.
Jasmine has different names at different stages of her life Jyoti, Jasmine, Jazzy, Kali?, Jane, Jase. She does a lot of living in her 24 years.
There is the kindness of strangers and man’s inhumanity to man and woman. It is not a happy tale - attempted murder, murder, suicide and rape. I felt there were a lot of unanswered questions at the end which readers were left to interpret as we wished. Has she turned back into Jase (p. 176) and run off with Taylor to find happiness leaving Bud in his wheelchair? Why did Sukhinder turn up selling ice-cream in New York or was this just a case of mistaken identity?
I liked “we are outcasts…” p.101; ”In America nothing lasts” p.181; p171 “I wanted to become the person they thought they saw”