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chitra banerjee divakaruni   book cover  
chitra banerjee divakaruni    
author essay: dissolving boundaries

The Mistress of Spices: an excerpt

author notebook: My Work with MAITRI

  What does it mean to be an Indian woman in America today? Few writers speak to the hyphenated-American experience more accurately and gracefully than Chitra Banarjee Divakaruni, author of Arranged Marriage. This book of short stories, in which she gives voice to several Indian women married in an age-old tradition, struggling between ancient and modern cultures, won several literary prizes and established the author as one of today's most exciting new voices.

In her new novel, The Mistress of Spices, just released to stunning reviews, she draws the reader into the delicious, mystical world of Tilo and her magical Indian spice shop, and, once there, gives us a very real, bitter slice of modern-day Oakland. Her lyrical, sensual prose manages both to delight and horrify, and as we explore the hidden corners of Tilo's shop our senses are overwhelmed by what we find there, desires and fears nestled within the packages of turmeric and ginger, and a culture as old as lotus root trying to find its way in a new world.

In this issue of Bold Type, Chitra contributes an essay on her close brush with death while delivering her second child, as well as an author notebook on her work with MAITRI, a helpline for South Asian women. Finally, an excerpt from The Mistress of Spices displays the author's unique and mesmerizing writing.

Photo of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni copyright © Dru Banerjee

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