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 the adoptive mother of a Vietnamese refugee. Jasmine's metamorphosis, with its shocking 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 become an American." -- The New York Times Book Review
The Middleman and Other Stories
Bharati Mukherjee's work illuminates a new world of people in migration that has transformed the meaning of "America." Now in a Grove paperback edition, The Middleman and Other Stories is a dazzling display of the vision of this important modern writer. An aristocratic Filipina negotiates a new life for herself with an Atlanta investment banker. A Vietnam vet returns to Florida, a place now more foreign than the Asia of his war experience. And in the title story, an Iraqi Jew whose travels have ended in Queens suddenly finds himself an unwitting guerrilla in a South American jungle. Passionate, comic, violent, and tender, these stories draw us into the center of a cultural fusion in the midst of its birth pangs, yet glowing with the energy and exuberance of a society remaking itself.
The Tree Bride
India, past and present, its inhabitants and expatriates, has always formed the framework of Mukherjee's literary world. In this vibrant novel, a sequel to Desirable Daughters and her best work to date, the author has fused history, mysticism, treachery and enduring love in a suspenseful story about the lingering effects of past secrets. Tara Chatterjee, the protagonist of the earlier novel, again narrates. The tale begins as her San Francisco house is firebombed by a man obsessed with killing her, and trails back to her legendary great-great-aunt and namesake, Tara Lata, who was born in 1874 and, at five, married to a tree because her fiancé died. Later, Tara Lata bravely conspired to win Bengal's independence from England. As the narrator gradually discovers why her namesake died in prison, she uncovers much evidence of the British rulers' contempt for the Indians they claimed they were "civilizing"; their cruelty, bigotry and duplicity cut into the narrative like a bloody knife. The plot itself is convoluted in a suspenseful way: the drama begun by Tara Lata's wedding resonates in miraculous interactions over the generations. As Tara Chatterjee's husband, a technological genius, has always told her, there are no coincidences in the universe. Over the course of this story, a dreadful 18th-century sea voyage spawns one man's redemption and another's hatred; honor and courage are met by betrayal; and loyalty to one's family and tradition prove to be the fuel of 20th-century love. The narrative brims with more action and vitality than Mukherjee's previous novels while retaining her elegant and incisive style. It's a good bet that this book will attract wide interest and leave readers eagerly awaiting the third volume in the trilogy. - Publisher's Weekly
The Holder of the World
"An amazing literary feat and a masterpiece of storytelling. Once again, Bharati Mukherjee prove
she is one of our foremost writers, with the literary muscles to weave both the future and the past into a tale that is singularly intelligent and provocative."
This is the remarkable story of Hannah Easton, a unique woman born in the American colonies in 1670, "a person undreamed of in Puritan society." Inquisitive, vital and awake to her own possibilities, Hannah travels to Mughal, India, with her husband, and English trader. There, she sets her own course, "translating" herself into the Salem Bibi, the white lover of a Hindu raja.
It is also the story of Beigh Masters, born in New England in the mid-twentieth century, an "asset hunter" who stumbles on the scattered record of her distant relative's life while tracking a legendary diamond. As Beigh pieces together details of Hannah's journeys, she finds herself drawn into the most intimate and spellbinding fabric of that remote life, confirming her belief that with "sufficient passion and intelligence, we can decontrsuct the barriers of time and geography...."
"The highlight of her career to date . . . Mukherjee bursts out as a star" (Publishers Weekly [starred review]) in her stirring novel of three women, two continents, and a perilous journey from the old world to the new -- now available in paperback.
In the tradition of the Joy Luck Club, Bharati Mukherjee has written a remarkable novel that is both the portrait of a traditional Brahmin Indian family and a contemporary American story of a woman who has in many ways broken with tradition but still remains tied to her native country.
Mukherjee follows the diverging paths taken by three extraordinary Calcutta-born sisters as they come of age in a changing world. Moving effortlessly between generations, she weaves together fascinating stories of the sisters' ancestors, childhood memories, and dramatic scenes from India's history.
At once sly and tragic, these twelve extraordinary stories chart the complex and shifting lives of the new immigrants to America--some helpless, some hopeless, others ambitious, beautiful, all striving for something they can't quite name, something more....
"Mukherjee writes with beautiful precision...neaty needlepointing a malevolent world." -THE VILLAGE VOICE
Wife"Mukherjee writes with beautiful precision and just the right density of detail. There is an unlikely marriage of Jane Austen and Nathaniel West in her words."
-THE VILLAGE VOICE
"Dimple Dasgupta had set her heart on marrying a neurosurgeon, but her father was looking for engineers in the matrimonial ads." So begins the wry story of an obedient daughter of middle-class Indian parents who is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Driven first to shock and then to despair, Dimple lives in a waking dream. And when her fantasies take a violent turn, she wonders where wishes end and reality begins....
Leave It To Me
"A very fine writer, funny, intelligent, versatile and, on occasion, unexpectedly profound."
--The Washington Post Book World
"MUKHERJEE IS FEARLESS . . . DARING AND WITTY . . . Take the wild ride with Debby DiMartino from Albany to San Francisco, from lost child to masked avenger."
--The Boston Globe
"POWERFULLY WRITTEN . . . Debby has no memory of her birth parents. All she knows is that she was born in a remote Indian village, the daughter of a hippie back-packing mother and a mysterious Eurasian father, both of whom have disappeared almost without a trace. . . . Her quest for her biological parents turns into an obsession. . . . Leave It to Me . . . shows Mukherjee at the peak of her craft. . . . Mixing the Greek myth of Electra with the Indian myth of Devi, she sends Devi/Debby careening down on the Bay Area like an elemental force of vengeance."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"DEVI IS A BRILLIANT CREATION--hilarious, horribly knowing and even more horribly oblivious--through whom Bharati Mukherjee, with characteristic and shameless ingenuity, is laying claim to speak for an America that isn't 'other' at all."
--The New York Times Book Review
"STUNNING . . . An astute, ironic, and merciless insight into an aberrant version of the American dream."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)