Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jasmine--Bharati Mukherjee

Genre: Fiction
Year Published: 1989
Pages: 241
Rating: 4/5

Lifetimes ago, under a banyan tree in the village of Hasnapur, an asrologer cupped his ears--his satellite dish to the stars--and foretold my widowhood and exile.

Jasmine is a captivating story of a young Indian woman's incarnations as she struggles with fate. Born Jyoti in India and renamed Jasmine by her husband Prakash, the protagonist finds herself reinvented constantly by tragedy until she settles in Iowa farmland and begins a relationship with a banker who christens her Jane. Her strength and intelligence are admirable, as well as her adaptability. By the end of the story she is still unsure of who she really is, but marches into the unknown with dignity and grace.

This book deals with many issues--the political unrest in India, the plight of the illegal immigrant in America, the struggle for immigrants to fit in to American culture without losing their identity. But the theme is all about identity. Who is Jasmine--or Jyoti--or Jane--or Kali? Are each of these incarnations a part of her being, or does she evolve into them through fate and circumstance?

My only complaint with this novel is that the ending seems a little rushed. But it is a beautifully written piece of work with strong characters, and is definately worth reading.

Book a week #: 45
Challenges: Young Adult, A-Z
Date Read: 10/17/09

No comments: