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3.6  ·  Rating details ·  1,239 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
When travel writer Christopher Stewart arrives at a riverside resort in Kerala to meet Koman, Radha's uncle and a famous kathakali dancer, he enters a world of masks and repressed emotions.
Paperback, 426 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Blackamber Books (first published January 2005)
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Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Now that I have your attention let me tell you that Anita Nair might very well be my favourite Indian writer and I’m quite shocked this book didn’t do better because it’s very hard to find any serious flaw in it.

Here is a story of Radha, Shyam and Chris, a love triangle that feels refreshingly real and authentic. You can’t help but notice a certain cynicism with which Nair presents the romantic affairs of mortals, born out of hormones and boredom. This cynicism is absent in the narrat
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-top-reads
I don't know about you. Some books I have on my shelves I get really excited about, and really look forward to reading. Sometimes these books let me down, admittedly, but usually they live up to my expectations. But I also have other books on my shelves that I can't remember why or how I acquired them, and I'm not convinced I still want to read them, but then when I do they blow me away with how good they are. This falls into the latter category.

Ostensibly, Mistress is the story of the bored Ind
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really appreciate the hard work and research conducted by the author. It gives a fairly good picture of the life and times of Kathakali artists and people living around Shornur, but as a person who was born and brought up near Shornur I can definitely say that Anita has failed to pass on the deep flavour of life and art around me here. She has researched and put on all the superficial technical aspects about Kathakali and life here, but even a small child would be able to make out that she has ...more
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was ranting and raving about this book while in the initial half. But, as with many such books with promising starts , things started fizzling out at the end. End was dragging and just tolerable, so what I supposed would turn out to be a five star book, woefully became an ordinary 3 star one. The theme is Kathakali, an ancient kerala dance form, and about a man who has devoted his life to the same, though he is only a parallel character in the story. His niece Radha and her cousin-husband Shya ...more
Shalini M
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book by Anita Nair that I read was "Ladies coupe". It was a long time back that I read it, and I hardly remember the story now, but I distinctly remember that it was a strong story - sad, real, and truly moving.

When I saw "Mistress" on the shelf of a book store, its cover immediately attracted me, the brief synopsis on the back intrigued me, and the previous experience with the author's writing encouraged me to buy it. And I must say that it left quite an impression on me. It has been
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
..and finally after over two years of it sitting on my bookshelf, I finally forced myself to read it. I have to say that the short description provided doesn't do justice to the book at all.
Although it started slowly, I warmed to the book in a while. The fact that its based in kerala and around an art form that best symbolises my homeland perhaps lessens the objectivity of this review a bit, but I loved the way Anita Nair has used the navarasas to convey the different moods/emotions/rhythm that
Mirela  Popescu
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Uită-te la mine. Priveşte-mi chipul. Chipul gol, despuiat de culoare şi machiaj, strălucire şi podoabe. Ce avem aici? Fruntea, sprâncenele, nările, gura, bărbia şi treizeci şi doi de muşchi ai feţei. Acestea sunt uneltele noastre şi cu ele vom croi limba fără sunete. Navarasele: dragoste, dispreţ, amărăciune, furie, curaj, teamă, dezgust, mirare, pace. În dans, ca şi în viaţă, n-avem nevoie de mai mult de nouă feluri în care să ne exprimăm. Le poţi numi cele nouă chipuri ale inimii."
Crzy D
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anita Nair's 'Good Night and God Bless' is one of my favorites when it comes to nighttime reads, just before sleep, or one of those books you just dip into when you just have a few minutes to wait. Rather like the chocolate mint on your pillow in the nicer hotels, a nice refreshing taste before a good night's rest. But her 'The Better man' left me very disappointed. So I was a little sceptical about picking up something on the novel side again, but the fact that she did write 'Good Night and..' ...more
Petcu Mihaela
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paseste usor. Sub talpa ta e visul meu.
Sundarraj Kaushik
The books is based on the navarasas (expressions) of Kathakali. The navarasas being Sringaram (Love, Beauty), Hasyam (Mirth, Laughter), Raudram (Anger, Fury), Karunyam (Compassion), Bhibatsam (Disgust, Aversion), Bhayanakam (Fear, Dread), Viram (Strenght, Heroism), Adbhutam (Wonder, Amazement), Shantam (Peace).

The author has weaved a story around the characters in the book as they go through these varied emotions. One of the characters is a Kathakali artist. He stays near a resort that is manage
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-history, magical, love
I really liked how this book brought to life the ancient art of Kathakali around the lives of well drawn characters whose struggles resonate. Never before did I hear about this ancient Indian art and so this was a pleasant surprise for me. There were too many plots in this novel which was at times confusing and annoying. But even though, I enjoyed how it was written in different voices so that there is a connection with each one of the characters rather just with a single narrator.
Roxana Cosmina
Romanul este despre cele nouă emoții fundamentale ale omului privite din perspectiva teatrului kathakali- teatru răspândit în India în cadrul căruia se pun în scenă secvențe din cele doua mari lucrări hinduse, Ramayana și Mahabharata. Costumele sunt foarte colorate, fețele actorilor sunt pictate, iar totul ia forma unui dans.
The premise is simple. A coming of age story of a frustrated wife - a narrative of a dancer wedded first to his craft and then to somebody's wife - a man in search of a story and another in search of riches. Did I say simple :)
The author has coloured her characters in all shades of grey. The only exception being the dancer. The storyline kept me hooked and left me pondering Radha's fate.
A good read..
Vishal K Shaw
This book was unputdownable for me because of the way the aspects of Kathakali had been penned down and connected with each and every emotion, dialogue and expression of the characters spectacularly. To a noob, this book would encourage him/her to at least see or read about the performances mentioned throughout the book. A refreshing read !!
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, my regret is that I had not read it when I saw my first and ony kathakali dancer while visiting Kerala. The writing is swift but very intuitive, my only hesitation might be the ending but I have no idea what other ending would have been possible. I highly recommend it.
May 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
trashy romance novel meets Indian folklore...makes it feel worthwhile
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mistress', by Anita Nair

Sringaaram - love; Haasyam-laugh; Karunam-sorrow; Raudram-anger; Veeram-courage; Bhayaanakam-fear ; Beebhalsam-Disgust; Adbhutam-astonishment; Shantam-peace;

These nine emotions we all feel or experience at different points of time in our life...but never thought that these emotions or expressions will have such an important significance in the dance form of our God's Own Country-Kerala, " Kathakali" it expressions or mudras or different feelings each character/dan
Sudeeksha Maheshwarappa
Lots of imagery

The book is exceptionally descriptive. The writing style is similar to that of a libretto, which proves very effective as the author navigates many points of view and many different timelines. The intersections of those timelines offer intriguing twists to the novel and make it a gripping read.
Anit Singh
Oh the beauty of the dance, the drama and the way that you describe things that I haven't seen. Oh the egregious faults that creep up eventually in the plot and make me unable to decide if I love the book or not?

Oh, I like it!
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Ho trovato molto pesanti le frequenti divagazioni nelle storie tradizionali indiane; perche poi tolte quelle resta un tradizionalissimo romanzo d'amore.
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aiswarya by: Aishwarya B S
It was 'Goodnight and God Bless' that I first read.Everything,starting from the cover was very welcoming and so I delved in to find delightful essays;reflections on life and writing.The perfect book for the bedside table,as many have called it.When I chanced upon 'Mistress',I thought I would try it.I am ashamed to admit that I hadn't expected much owing to other Indian authors I'd read.Which points clearly to my faulty beliefs,because this extraordinary experience.Rarely,we come across a ...more
Alvi Harahap
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Set in picturesque Kerala and with Kathakali as a background , Anita Nair's 'Mistress' is written rendition of the traditional Indian dance form kathakali which colourful, vibrant and appealing. The main protagonist is Radha,a beautiful woman in her early thirties who is married to a man she does not love. The novel begins with the arrival of Chris, a foreigner to a small town in Kerala. American Chris Stewart comes into two lives. Radha is emotionally distanced and more than a bit contemptuous ...more
Vibina Venugopal
the story is set on the banks of river Nila that instils the beauty of art, wonder of creativity and depth of love and passion and the pain of infidelity....Koman is a renowned Kathakali artist, Christopher Stewart , Chris a travel writer visit the Matt to interview him, but a deep attraction develops between Radha, Koman's niece and Chris , complication sets as Radha is married to Shyam.... There are more complicated relationships in this novel to be explored one that between Angela and aging K ...more
Jyoti Babel
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I borrowed this book from my friend, I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. I just wanted to read a different kind book. Kathakali is an integral part of the book with each chapters beginning with an explanation of the one of the navarassas (nine emotions/expressions) and then goes on to draw an analogy from life for all of them. The story is set in Kerala and the author which is the mother land of this form of dance.

The story is about 4 people, a famous Kathakali dancer-Koman, her n
Finitha Jose
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can still remember the countless times I put back this enticing book with its kathakali cover page to its shelf in DC book shop. It was not the time I guess, and partly I was afraid to take a book bearing the title 'Mistress' in front of my parents' watchful eyes. Well, now the little child has grown, finally to grab a copy to relish the mysteries inside.
Two stories unfold here simultaneously: one featuring Shyam and his wife Radha who is in love with the charming travel writer Chris. Other
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, punya, bungkusan
judul dan cover versi asli lebih bagus

buku ini mengendap 4 tahun sebelum akhirnya kuputuskan untuk dibaca karena tema-tema india mendominasi di indonesia dalam kategori intertain. dan jujur, aku terganggu dengan model dan desain sampulnya. selain itu tulisan di punggung buku yang besar menuliskan judul buku ini.

padahal kenyataannya, begitu kau membuka buku ini, kau akan terpikat oleh isinya. aku sendiri suka dengan plot tulisan dan isi ceritanya. cerita yang mengalir dengan peristiwa yang diceri
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a beautiful novel by anita nair...
when u start it seems 2 b a typical south indian based fiction wid lot of backwaters,greens,a typical dance form 2 b discused at lenths n ofcourse coconuts n banana's 2 b discussd in d 450 odd pages...its a task in it self 2 start d buk n kp urslf in gud humor 2 read further...

initial start howevr is very difrnt from d very beginning wen u c d author's narration of 3- 4 characters on a parallel ground wid no previous description along wid very s
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With Kerala in the background and kathakali in the forefront, Anita Nair enfolds the characters of Radha, Shyam, Chris and Koman. Each one of them has a baggage and each of them try in their own way to overcome it. Shyam loves Radha but he is unable to let it show. He is materialistic and it is this picture he wants everybody to see. Radha finds Shyam boring, inadequate and below her intellect. She is someone who needs to be left free but is caught in this loveless marriage. She craves an intima ...more
Subra Kris
This was my first book of Anita Nair. After hearing so much in terms of how great the book is i read it and i must say i am not very impressed. The book is superflous and does not try to go indepth into character building, central story or messaging. There are probably 3 to 4 tracks of thought over here. Track 1 being that of love in its various forms - selfless love, selfish love, infatuation, lust and adultrey. But none of these come out strong in the story. The second track is that of arts - ...more
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“Siempre he creído que si deseas algo con la fuerza suficiente y esperas el tiempo necesario,acabará por ser tuyo” 1 likes
“—Tienes suerte —dije— de haber preservado el sueño en el mismo estado en que lo tuviste, de seguir deseándolo a pesar de los años de espera” 1 likes
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