The Holder of the World

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In her luminous new novel, Bharati Mukherjee creates a vivid, complex tale about the dislocation and transformation that arise in the face of a meeting of cultures: the terrain she has so brilliantly made her own in her acclaimed novels and stories. Here, in The Holder of the World, we witness an unlikely and intriguing meeting of two worlds, the Puritan American and the Mughal Indian. In a startling commingling of history and imagination, Mukherjee lights up the making and very nature of the American ...
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1993 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. lt shelfwear to d/j-Book Appears Unread Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 285 p. Audience: General/trade.

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1993-09-28 Hardcover New Beautiful new condition book, no marks, no wear. MendoPower Employment Services will immediately and carefully pack this book in high-quality bubble ... lined, envelopes. Then we send you a confirmation e-mail. We appreciate your business and welcome any questions. Read more Show Less

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1993-09-28 Hardcover New 1993 FIRST EDITION STATED. Hardback w/ DJ. You are buying a Book in NEW condition with very light shelf wear.

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1993 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Signed by author. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 285 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Holder of the World

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Overview

In her luminous new novel, Bharati Mukherjee creates a vivid, complex tale about the dislocation and transformation that arise in the face of a meeting of cultures: the terrain she has so brilliantly made her own in her acclaimed novels and stories. Here, in The Holder of the World, we witness an unlikely and intriguing meeting of two worlds, the Puritan American and the Mughal Indian. In a startling commingling of history and imagination, Mukherjee lights up the making and very nature of the American consciousness. This is the story of Hannah Easton, born in the American colonies in 1670, "a person undreamed of in Puritan society." Inquisitive, vital, awake to her own sense of self and purpose, she is "a spiritual aristocrat in an age of common believers." After traveling to Mughal India in the company of her husband, an English trader, Hannah sets her own course into the life and imagination of the country, "translating" herself into the Salem Bibi, the white consort of a Hindu raja. And it is the story of Beigh Masters, born in New England in the mid-twentieth century, an "asset-hunter" who stumbles on the scattered record of Hannah's life while tracking a legendary diamond. In Hannah, Beigh discovers a remote relative, and as she pieces together the details of Hannah's journeys, she begins to realize that their blood relation is only the most straightforward of the connections between them. In her belief that "with sufficient passion and intelligence, we can deconstruct the barriers of time and geography," Beigh finds herself moving toward an almost unfathomably intimate grasp of Hannah's experience. And in turn, Hannah becomes a guide for Beigh across the "tangled lines of India and New England" that gave Hannah's life its extraordinary shape and that begin now to reach across a rift three centuries wide into the fabric of Beigh's own life as well. In The Holder of the World we read an intricate, brilliantly rendered, constantly surprising mythology of tim
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Neither as accessible as Jasmine nor as superbly crafted as National Book Critics Circle Award-winner The Middleman and Other Stories , Mukherjee's new novel is a challenging work that engages the intellect more than the heart. Narrator Beigh Masters is a Yale grad who has put her history degree to use in ``assets research,'' tracking down rare art and jewels for wealthy clients. Her pet research project involves Hannah Easton, born in Massachusetts in 1670, who went on to marry an English trader, journey with him to India at the dawn of European colonization and become the lover of a Hindu prince. This novel is Hannah's story, told by Beigh with an emphasis on the themes that interest her: the nature of time, the merit of attempts to recapture the past, the collision of values that inevitably occurs when New World meets Old, the power wielded by unconventional women in a hidebound society and the revenge that such a society exacts. Mukherjee writes with her customary elegant lucidity; her insights into 17th-century America, England and India are as tough-minded and astute as anything she has written about contemporary society; and she spins a rousing narrative of greed, lust, battles and betrayals. Readers may feel somewhat aloof from Hannah, who is viewed always from a distance, but an abundance of interesting ideas partly compensates for the book's lack of an emotional center. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Exotic locales and historical-genealogical connections color this novel by the author of Jasmine ( LJ 7/89). Beigh is a contemporary New England woman of Indian (that is, ``Indian-Indian, not wah-wah Indian'') heritage, who is in love with technocrat Venn from India. Beigh is obsessed with antiquities. The graduate work she was doing on the Puritans had led her to the discovery of one of her ancestors, a Hannah Easton, who traveled from her home in New England all the way to India with her trader husband. The author has woven together Hannah's story with Beigh's search for ancient jewels and legends. Mukherjee writes about all these unusual times and places with a style that is mesmerizing. Unfortunately, the dialog of bygone eras too frequently sounds contrived. Recommended for larger fiction collections.-- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Donna Seaman
In both "The Middleman and Other Stories" (1988) and "Jasmine" (1989), Mukherjee has written about immigrants from India and their struggle to adjust to life in America. Her newest novel, a work of crystalline perfection, refracts this theme by exploring the fate of an American woman in India. But Mukherjee also explores the shape and texture of time. This unusual cross-cultural adventure tale, which is as vivid, monumental, and full of meaning as any myth or ancient tragedy, is narrated by a young New England woman whose livelihood is tracking down antiques. Her quest for a legendary diamond called the Emperor's Tear leads her to artifacts and documents attesting to the astonishing story of Hannah Easton, a late seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, woman. Orphaned when her widowed mother ran off with her Native American lover under the cover of massacre, Hannah nearly goes mad keeping her mother's secret from her Puritan rescuers and is happy to escape with the only sort of man who would marry her: a one-eyed buccaneer. Their travels eventually bring them to the east coast of India and into the heart of the trade wars between the English, Hindus, and Muslims. Quickly widowed, Hannah is transfixed and transformed by this land of extremes and discovers true passion in the arms of a raja, in the midst of bloodshed, completing the strange and mysterious life design her mother began. In prose as specific and measured as math but as evocative as music, Mukherjee articulates the horrors of colonialism and war, while, simultaneously, marveling at the power of the spirit and the wonder of survival, the very essence of legend and art.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394588469
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 285

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