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The Mistress of Spices (Penguasa Rempah-Rempah)

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3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  8,826 ratings  ·  678 reviews
Kisah tentang Tilo, wanita muda yang terpilih menjadi Penguasa Rempah-rempah. Setelah menceburkan diri ke dalam api Shampati, Tilo mewujud jadi sosok wanita renta yang imortal, dan membuka toko rempah-rempah. Melalui seni kuno meramu rempah-rempah, ia menyembuhkan banyak orang India di perantauan. Suatu hari seorang pria Amerika keturunan Indian masuk ke tokonya dan, tak d ...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published January 2003 by PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama (first published 1996)
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Laura
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 gotten 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 t ...more
Radhika
Oct 01, 2007 Radhika rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romance book readers
This book belongs on a Harlequin/ Mills & Boon bookshelf. I picked it up expecting something quite 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 genres 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 good reason other than she might actually be that old (the book meanders a
...more
Nelson
Oh dear, whatever one says is going to sound like damnation via faint praise. Yes, this is magical realism; no, it isn't as accomplished as the best examples in that genre. 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 quite as moving and powerful as this reader hoped it would be. Entertaining, enjoyable, not life-changing. I felt the strongest passages weren' ...more
Neha
Misty... fragrant... intoxicating.. mythical... spicy!!

I have read almost all books of Chitra Banerjee and each read makes me crave for more.. her intriguing characters, colorful stories and much are like bites from your faviorite dish which you eat one at a time so that the taste lasts forever.. holding me close to the book and I wish it never ends.. The best part about her books are the interesting character sketches.. generally a character has shades of black or white or a mixed grey.. but Ch
...more
Susan
I nominated this for my f2f book group 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 realism.

The main character doesn’t even have a stable name. It changes as her life changes: first she’s Nayan Tara, the disappointing girl child who’s ugly—the color of mud—but who has psychic gifts that make the family’s fortune in a small village o
...more
Laura
Good idea poorly executed.

The poetic language lauded in other reviews is over the top and gets obnoxious quickly. The author 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 to grate.

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 else.

The title chara
...more
Eh?Eh!
love the premise, magic acting through spices. the heroine is supposed to use her training and powers for her own people but compassion leads her to help all who come to her--a lesson in diversity? a dreamy lilt to the tone of the writing, charming word arrangement (is English the author's second language?), an ending that reminds me of that one Batman villain from the animated series who wants to destroy the world so it can heal itself over (Razul?). the love story part is on the verge of silly ...more
Deborah
I was expecting more 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.
Cameron
Apr 13, 2015 Cameron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cameron by: J.
This book is so unique and beautiful. Really liked this one! Full review to come.
Margitte
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 going 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, got me bo ...more
Mara
Libro strano, riuscito solo a metà : la prima parte e’ molto bella e trasporta il lettore in una sfera atemporale dove sogno e fiaba si fondono armoniosamente, nella parte centrale la narrazione diventa piu’ tradizionale e sentimentale ed anche piu’ monotona ed il finale e’ da romanzetto rosa.
Nonostante questo sbilanciamento, e’ un libro da leggere : la narrazione e’ lieve ed il romanzo non e’ basato su una trama ben definita, ma ruota intorno all’ insieme di odori, sapori e colori di cui trasu
...more
Raymond Hu
I think it was boring personally and just the type of books i hate. I mean like i get the storyline a bit but like half of the book you don't really need to know about. I felt the author added to much stuff about minor characters that had nothing to do with the main ideas of the story and it kind of made the story fail in my point of view. I also gave it a low rating because the book couldn't get to the point fast enough like they leave you with an idea halfway and it switches to a whole new ide ...more
Ileen
Questa lettura, per me, ha una storia strana. Vidi il libro qulche anno fa sul banco di una biblioteca dell'Università, era di una ragazza che a furia di leggerlo lo aveva consumato.
Mi colpì il nome dell'autrice, che non conoscevo... aveva un nome che sapeva di India... annotai nome e titolo sul palmo della mano e mi diressi nella prima libreria: preso! (conservo ancora lo scontrino come segnalibro!) Come spesso accade il libro rimase sulla mia scrivania per ben due anni. Non di oblio ma di abb
...more
Nadiah
As a big fan of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, I collect many of her books. The ones I have read are The Unknown Errors of Our Lives, Arranged Married, and the last one is The Mistress of Spices.

Like in her other books, in The Mistress of Spices, Divakaruni uses her beautiful writing style. Soft, unhurried, strong. She makes readers captivated in such a way that you feel every single sensation the main character, Tilo, undergoes.

This novel is somehow a flight of imagination, yet Divakaruni helps yo
...more
Sk
I absolutely adored this book. I've read it about ten times since I first got 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 so
...more
Josie
This book is redolent with the richness and scent of spices. It is positively poetic in places and had me rushing to find my pestle and mortar to rediscover the joys of the spices she lovingly describes. But ultimately it is a book about people, about life,about love and about belonging. It is also a personal journey - at the begining you will dislike the protagonist and her selfish attitude but this is gradually transformed. For those of you who dislike the ending all I can say is that it is a ...more
GoldenjoyBazyll
Aug 19, 2008 GoldenjoyBazyll rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jen, Sandy, Lauren
Recommended to GoldenjoyBazyll by: ha ha....I did!
"Even if we found your special place. I take a deep breath, then say it."Because there is no earthly paradise. Except what we can make back there, in the soot, in the rubble, in the crisped-away flesh. In the guns and the needles, the white drug dust, the young men and women lying down to dreams of wealth and power and waking in cells. Yes, in the hate and fear."

How true those words were to me. I loved the playful nature of this book with life's lessons woven throughout using spice as the forum.
...more
Donna LaValley
Bits of magic, fantasy, folk remedies, herbal information, cultural studies of the lives of immigrants from India living in Oakland in the 1980’s (prejudice, violence), and wish-fulfillment highlight this book by an author whose book of short stories, “Arranged Marriage,” I truly enjoyed. She’s a gifted author whose work is for all, but this book is definitely ‘chick lit” – not that there’s anything wrong with that!

There are dozens of reviews so I won’t elaborate on plot points but will explain
...more
Audra
Jan 14, 2012 Audra rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: karen
Recommended to Audra by: nancy bardeen
Maybe it's a 5. I didn't much like it at first, then fell under the spell of the style and the author's way of bringing me into two major experiences: love, and the conflict between ... hm, some sense of the greater calling (here, the healer) vs the daily and ordinary yet necessary and yearned for. The "magic realism" for a sceptic like me easily became poetic (and powerful) metaphor. I admire Divakaruni for that; too often magic realism leaves me cold.
Michiyo 'jia' Fujiwara
Namaku Nayan Tara..seorang anak yang lahir tapi sudah membuat orangtuaku kecewa..karena lahirnya anak perempuan lagi berarti membawa beban utang maskawin kelak jika kumenikah..aku mempunyai kemampuan istimewa..dan hal ini yang menyebabkan orang-orang datang berdatangan kepadaku..mereka memujaku dan menyebarkan cerita tentang kekuatanku ke semua negeri saat mereka melintasi samudera..

Dengan cara itulah para bajak laut mendengar tentang diriku..

Namaku Nayan Tara..dan hanya tinggal beberapa saat la
...more
Corinne
To read the novel Mistress of Spices is to experience an aspect of Indian culture that is steeped in mysticism while, at the same time, learning of some of the current struggles among the Indian-American community.

Tilo, a young woman in an old woman’s body, owns a shop where she sells much more than cinnamon and fennel. Her almost spiritual calling as a “mistress” grants her fragile access to the dreams and worries of those who frequent her store – for better or worse. She knows which spices wil
...more
Anitha Mohanraj
OOOOOhhhhhh....

Spices really if you talk and convey all that the book says....life would be spell-bounding indeed.

A lovely experience reading about the qualities of each spice and its effect on our body and mind. A harsh point driven home is that our enriched ancestors never felt it important to educate the next generation and here we stand looking for cures and medicines outside the kitchen shelf.

Coming to the book, a neat portrayal which to me had a personal message so lucid. It was a tale of
...more
Tawny
Mar 25, 2008 Tawny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tawny by: Dr. Keith Lawrence
Favorite Lines:

1. "Sometimes I wonder if there is such a thing as reality, an objective and untouched nature of being. Or if all that we encounter has already been changed by what we had imagined it to be. If we have dreamed it into being."

2. "A good 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."

3. "
...more
Kelly
I liked this novel, but I also found myself wondering if grammatical error was allowed as artistic technique. The book is marketed along similar lines as Like Water for Chocolate.

What I do like about Mistress of the Spices is that is about redemption.
A proud, supercilious woman learns a sense of self-worth.
She has to "submit" to the will of the spices in order to use their magic.
She is undone by her desire for and desire to be loved by an American who is half white and half Native American, wh
...more
Neha
Coming from the author of one of my favourite books "The Palace of Illusions", I had great expectations from this book. I like magical realism and the concept of spices having the power to affect lives was an idea I found very interesting. But the story turned out to be so disappointing. The characters are boring, there are so many loopholes in the story and the ending is so bad that you are left with an unsatisfactory reading experience.
Rachel
I totally wanted to like this, and I did starting out...but 1/3 of the way through I just felt the pace slow to the speed of molasses, or maybe ghee if we're going to be culturally accurate.

Tilo travels through time from a magical island to a spice shop in Oakland, where she gives out magic potions to other Indians but is supposed to let everyone else suffer through life on their own. (Yeah, that's the premise.) Then she meets a handsome American who appears to see how beautiful she is under her
...more
Farha Hasan
I've been a fan of this author, since I read her short story collection, Arranged Marriage. The ideas behind this book is unique. I really enjoy reading her pros. I feel that the ending and the romantic component could be stronger. Her relationship with "Raven" is not that mature, but the book still holds almost 20 years after publication.
Cheri
A warm, open hearted read suffused with magical realism, reminding me of Laura Esquival (Like Water for Chocolate) and Isabel Allende.

I read Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's The Mistress of Spices A Novel after Arranged Marriage Stories. The first half of the novel is fantastic; the second seems to unravel into a romance novel, as some other reviewers have mentioned. And yet I was enthralled by the writing.

Chitra Divakaruni is a new favorite.
Sara.
I took this book with really low expectations,and it came out that i really did not liked it.
I think it was boring and just the type of books I hate. I mean like I get the storyline a bit,but like half of the book you don't really need to know about. I felt the author added to much stuff about minor characters that had nothing to do with the main ideas of the story and it kind of made the story fail in my point of view.

I also gave it a low rating because the book couldn't get to the point fast
...more
jackie sze
This book is about Tilo who's a Indian woman who has powers that knows about all spices and which spices to give her customers.Her spices have helped out her customers for a long time. She then travels to america where she falls in love with a man and has to decide whether to be with him or to run the spice shop. Tilo plans to help both but it's not easy.
I liked this book because it's really unique and it's about spices added with romance which is pretty rare. Usually most books that deal with
...more
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Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 20 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese.Her newest novel is Oleander Girl (Simon and Schuster, 2013) http: ...more
More about Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni...
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“Each day has a color, a smell.” 54 likes
“Each spice has a special day to it. For turmeric it is Sunday, when light drips fat and butter-colored into the bins to be soaked up glowing, when you pray to the nine planets for love and luck.” 25 likes
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