Monday, April 14, 2008

The Mistress of Spices

The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
'I am a Mistress of Spices.
I can work the others too. Mineral, metal, earth and sand and stone. The gems with their cold clear light. The liguids that burn their hues into your eyes till you see nothing else. I learned them all on the island.
But the spices are my love.
I know their origins, and what their colors signify, and their smells. I can call each by the true-name it was given at the first, when earth split like skin and offered it up to the sky. Their heat runs in my blood. From amchur to zafran, they bow to my command. At a whisper they yield up to me their hidden properties, their magic powers.'

This book is a magical fable, written in a very poetic prose. It tells the story of Tilo, a girl born in India with the sight of a seer. This very power gets her kidnapped by pirates and eventually leads her to a magical island where she is taught the mystery of the spices and by the Old One. Once her education is complete, Tilo is made immortal and sent through time to an Indian spice shop in Oakland, California, in the body of an old woman. Here she administers the spices as a balm and healer for her customers. As a Mistress, there are many rules that Tilo must follow in order to stay in the good graces of the spices, but life and love call and Tilo finds herself breaking these rules.
This was a fun read, one of magic and mystery, that I did enjoy, but will probably not keep on my shelves to read again later.

'We are laughing but there is a raw edge to it, a laugh that knows how easily it could have turned to weeping. A laugh like this, when you share it, loosens the knots in the heart.'

I'm now off to spend sometime on San Peidre Island off the Washington Coast, beginning in 1942...


Blogger Terri said...

LOVED this one!

6:39 PM  

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