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Jasmine

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  3,216 ratings  ·  247 reviews
When Jasmine is suddenly widowed at seventeen, she seems fated to a life of quiet isolation in the small Indian village where she was born. But the force of Jasmine's desires propels her explosively into a larger, more dangerous, and ultimately more life-giving world. In just a few years, Jasmine becomes Jane Ripplemeyer, happily pregnant by a middle-aged Iowa banker and t ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 5th 1999 by Grove Press (first published 1989)
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Anukriti The tinkering with the electronics stands for coming together of various ethnic groups. It represents hybridisation, an intermingling of different cul…moreThe tinkering with the electronics stands for coming together of various ethnic groups. It represents hybridisation, an intermingling of different cultures and in case of Du as well as Prakash, a means to move forward, create a new identity which is a synthesis of their native and new identity.(less)

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Average rating 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,216 ratings  ·  247 reviews


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Kathleen
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-writers
“Can wanting be fatal?”

This captivated me. It’s about hardships, and fighting to overcome them. It’s about illegal immigration, why it can happen, and the terrifying journey it can be. There are vivid, even shocking descriptions of life in India, but to me this is a very American story—scrappy and full of ambition.

Jasmine undergoes multiple transformations along her journey—to her surroundings, her home, her family and her name. Mukherjee takes us back and forth in time through these worlds, whi
...more
Sohaib
"For the uncle, love was control. Respect was obedience. For Prakash, love was letting go. Independence, self-reliance: I learned the litany by heart. But I felt suspended between worlds."

"In Hasnapur, Dida told stories of Vishnu the Preserver containing our world inside his potbellied stomach. I sit, baffled, in the dark living room of our house in Baden, loaded rifle against my belly, cocooning a cosmos."


Five stars! W/o a flinch!

The Gods never lost their androgyny in the East, did they!?

I'm qu
...more
Georgia
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was recommended this book following a lecture series on US-Indian literature, and unfortunately, it does not live up to its hype. A young Indian widow's quest to fulfill her late husband's will by traveling to America and visiting the college he attended would make an interesting starting point for a story about a woman's search for her identity in a foreign country, but sadly, this endeavour soon falls flat due to one-dimensional protagonists and plot "twists" in the style of an improbable Bo ...more
Andrew Kubasek
Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: completed
In the name of honesty, I read this book for a class taught by the author. It was a great class, and she used the novel as a great example of things like how a writer thinks, approaching symbolism, and the writing and publishing process generally.

Still, this book, although unique, failed to really strike a chord with me. I felt no sympathy or disgust for any of the characters, even though I got the sense that I was supposed to feel SOMETHING. What this book did do well was intrigue me enough to
...more
Emilie
Aug 02, 2012 added it
I have no idea what to think about this book. Did I like it? Hm... Did I dislike it... Hm... I kinda nothing it.

While reading this I kept wondering wether it would get a spot in my bookshelf or go to a second hand. The latter won. Because of the ending. What the heck was up with the ending? It destroyed the whole story that COULD have been something. Thanks to the ending I know for sure it was nothing.

Identity crisis and culture shock is a serious matter that affects a lot of people. Doesnt me
...more
Johnny
Mar 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I first read this in graduate school with a professor who assigned the book and then once we finished reading it proceeded to totally deconstruct it. A post-colonial Indian himself, he took umbrage with the backward depiction of rural life in India. I was very impressionable and spent the next ten years thinking Mukherjee was a hack writer with simple minded constructions.

On a second read at a more mature age, I see now that there is much to like in this novel; the fragmented and nonlinear const
...more
Hákon Gunnarsson
When Jasmine is just seventeen she is already a widow. She lives in India, but wants more than living there can offer her, so she moves to America.

I read this some twenty years ago (damn, has it really been that long?) at uni, and I remember I thought at the time that it was an interesting story. Don’t know how I would react to it now. There are fond memories attached to it, so I don’t know if I’m willing to read it again to find out.
Noelia Alonso
I appreciated the story but I didn't really get along with Mukherjee's narrative ...more
Nouur Benabbes
Jan 25, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, contemporary
I don't know what to say about this book. I was hoping to read about Indian culture, to learn about the struggles of those who are escaping their miserable realities, seeking for brand new identities and searching to fit in.
However, the synopsis was so misleading. That was not what I expected. The first few chapters were loaded with Hindi expressions, agricultural more precisely, and as someone who knows absolutely nothing about India and its agruculture, it was such a turn off.
The other few ch
...more
The Book Maven
May 15, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
What will you give to be an American? What will you give to experience the American dream, to grasp all the prosperity and security and happiness that so many Americans seem to have?

For Jyoti, a seventeen-year-old widow who lost her husband to the violence that plagues India, there's not a lot she won't do. Illegally immigrate? Sure, why not? Commit murder? Steal another woman's husband, and then leave him? There you go. As Jyoti gradually acclimates to the society and values of America, she lea
...more
Nada Kamiche
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book aims to show the traumatic experiences and cultural perplexity, in which it reveals the depth analysis of women consciousness and their immigrant experiences among the society of Bharati Mukherjee's jasmine (1989) the one dominated by male.
Which tells the story of an indian woman "Jasmine" in the united states, who, trying to adjust into the American society in order for her to protect her life and survive, she changes identity many times, suffered of loss, of pain, and of non-belongin
...more
KeleeAnn Littrell
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Just when your life is all figured out and seems to be settling down BOOM!!! A bomb hits you and all is destroyed. Would you be willing to kill the man that raped you? Could you justify why you did it? Jasmine takes you on a ride of ups and downs, sadness, joyfulness, heart-pounding adventures. Just when you think you are comfortable with where you are at reading you get a 360-degree turn to something new yet it all comes together. There were times when reading that my heart was calm but as soon ...more
Smitha Murthy
These days, I enjoy most of the books I read. Probably because I am more careful about what I read. I rarely turn to the latest in contemporary fiction as I used to. I spend more time on classics, feeling in these words that have endured the test of time a sense of connection that contemporary works rarely give.

When I saw ‘Jasmine’ at the second-hand bookstore I frequent, I picked it up because my reading of Indian writers has been scant this year. I have read more Indian works in translation, b
...more
Sanjana Idnani
This book was full of action and explored Jasmine’s shifting identity and needs as she progresses through the various different parts of her life however I felt like the narrative became a little too fast paced with little time spent cultivating genuine relationships with each of the characters. The ending felt rushed and out of the blue and the sorrow that I should have felt at some of the final events got lost. However, I will add that the narrative between Prakash and Jasmine in India was a m ...more
Craig Werner
Crucial part of the Asian (and specifically South Asian) American literary canon. Jasmine combines responses to Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and Bronte's Jane Eyre, emerging with something spellbinding and germinal. The protagonist's transformations, moral choices, negotations of radically different worlds--rural and urban India, Flushing and Manhattan, Iowa--anticipates the world of diasporic mobility that was in its early stages of development. The central character is unforgettable. ...more
Gwynnie Ball
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I will admit, I read this for a class (please, forgive me). I had trouble getting into this book because of the constant time shifts, and I found myself really confused by the characters and when exactly everything was happening, but once I finally settled into the story and pacing I ended up really enjoying it. The questions of identity, especially in the experience of immigrants, along with the romantic elements kept me reading.
Sophie
I didn’t dig for deep and veiled meanings while reading this story. I just let myself be carried along on Jyoti’s/Jasmine’s/Jase’s/Jane’s journey from the fate of being a child bride in India on a horrific underground journey to America. Maybe the idea that by chance she is rescued by benevolence and ends up assimilating with what seems like ease is a bit contrived, I did not mind.
For me, the language and writing made this a terrific read.
Brittney
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
*Read for School*
While I did enjoy this at some parts, I feel like some of the modern-day scenes could have been condensed. I appreciated the message of this story and the I enjoyed reading about the main character. This story was hard-hitting at times and really made me think deeper about how hard it is to survive sometimes.
Sarah Lorenowich
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i’m surprised with how much i ended up liking this book especially bc in the first maybe 40 pages i was fully not feeling it. but once i got used to the style and the story really started to get going it was a wonderful read ... can’t wait to write an essay on this in a month hopefully i won’t hate it after that
Valentina
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fully five stars!!!!!! I had a hard time at the beginning to get attached to the character but then I latched on to her and all her worries, fears, successes, etc. So good!!!!!!!!
Kaion
Jan 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Jasmine (1989) is the third book of Bharati Mukherjee's that I've picked up, and I've definitely gained the sense that Mukherjee would really be a cool professor to have. Her writing tends to have a quality of being more successful as Professor Mukherjee's lectures on identity and global modernity than well-constructed narratives.

As a novel following the journey of Jyoti/Jasmine/Jane, who goes from Indian country girl/beloved wife to illegal immigrant/Upper West Side nanny to Midwest trophy
...more
Adam Morris
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, asia
This story was not what I had expected from an Indian author. Initially the first few chapters concerning Jasmine's current life in the United States I found unremarkable even tedious. It wasn't until the author took us back to her life in India, her misfortunes, her escapes and her travels that the story became more interesting. Eventually I finished the book quite keenly although I felt that there were several places where the narrative was too thin and events were summarized where more detail ...more
Donna
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
In a little more than 200 pages Jasmine, the narrator, tells her story. She went back and forth in time piecing it together. She was born in Hasnapur, India, 18 years after the Partition of India. She was the 5th daughter and 7th of 9 children. In 1947, due to the partition, her parents fled the city of Lahore where they lived a comfortable life and moved to Hasnapur where they now lived in poverty. For Jasmine there would be no money for a dowry. And “bad luck followed dowryless wives, rebellio ...more
Sharon Christy
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is about a child's immigration to India. For we see all through the novel that Jasmine, call her what you will, is only a child. And the name changes, people call my Christy, Chris, some even take pride in calling me by my imaginary full name, Christina while I am just Christy. That doesn't mean I have multiple personalities, it means people like to call you differently. And also in many places, I find Jyoti or Jasmine acting like a child. When Karin calls her a gold digger, she defian ...more
Nikhil
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: american, south-asian
3/5.

This novel doesn't really work. The main character experiences so much trauma over the course of her life, that the trauma is devalued in importance, and no specific incident can be treated with the seriousness it deserves. I understand that the novel is trying to depict Jasmine in different contexts, in each of which she experiences violence and which she interprets as being multiple selves (perhaps due to this trauma). Unfortunately, the transitions between contexts are difficult to believ
...more
Anesa
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I much enjoyed this engrossing tale, especially the voice of the heroine/narrator as she struggles through adversity and begins to discover her own power to make a better life for herself. Pages and paragraphs alternate between several settings: India, where Jasmine’s beloved husband is murdered by religious zealots; Florida, where she makes illegal entry to the United States and survives a dire assault by her human trafficker; New York, where she works as an au pair; and rural Iowa, where she b ...more
Mikanrulz
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
an interesting look into the forming of an identity. The main lead is an Indian woman who migrate to the US for a purpose, and through many hardships, she did arrive in the US soil - though this was only the beginning of her real journey.

The way the main lead literally created another name to represent another identity for each place she had dwelled in felt very real to me.

The only complain I have about this book is the inherent cinderella complex that is still quite apparent here, were every ma
...more
Shaeley Santiago
Not a YA book - too many mature scenes. I chose this story because the main character is a Punjabi woman who ends up in rural Iowa. The story contains several flashbacks to her life first in rural India and as a young bride living in the city but also in New York City and Florida where she first lived when she came to the U.S. Initially, it was a bit confusing to follow what was happening and who some of the characters were (like Taylor). While Jasmine (or Jhoti, Jase, or Jane depending on where ...more
Minoli
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I like this book for its writing. The language is beautiful, and full of sarcastic poetry. When I read it first I gave it three stars. But then after studying the book today, I am compelled to increase it to a four star rating.

This book makes one question many things. Including if this is about Jyoti's journey from entrapment to liberation linear, or has it been in a circle, aided by men, never truly independent.
...more
Jamie Nelson
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book still fascinates me. It was integral to my undergrad senior thesis (over 10 years ago) - American Studies interdisciplinary look at immigration and the depiction of immigration and assimilation in fiction. I don't read it so much as a story, but how it turns immigration stereotypes upside down, and plays with names and geography for creating identity. ...more
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500 Great Books B...: Jasmine - Bharati Mukherjee 3 25 Feb 12, 2015 11:37AM  

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186 followers
Bharati Mukherjee was an Indian-born award winning American writer who explored the internal culture clashes of her immigrant characters in the award-winning collection The Middleman and Other Stories and in novels like Jasmine and Desirable Daughters.

Ms. Mukherjee, a native of Calcutta, attended schools in England, Switzerland and India, earned advanced degrees in creative writing in the United S
...more

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