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3.5 10
by Bharati Mukherjee

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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


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

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Married at 14 and widowed by nationalist-religious violence, but guided by a keen and resolute will, Jasmine leaves India for the U.S., where brutality once again invades her life as she marries and adopts a son. Observing that ``through Jasmine's eyes we see a different America than most of us will ever encounter,'' PW termed this a ``richly atmospheric, beautifully controlled novel.'' Author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
This novel relates both the odyssey and the metamorphosis of a young immigrant from rural India. Her story is often shocking: the violence of the rape that greets her on her first night in America is certainly no greater than that of the crazed Sikh extremists who made her a widow at age 17 in India. Yet neither the character nor her story is held back by this violence. Along the way Jaze acquires three children, including Du, a Vietnamese boy who like herself is an immigrant. Finally, still only in her early twenties, Jaze takes off to pursue her own version of the American dream. The novel has a delicious humor and sexiness that make it a treat to read. The author is this year's winner of the National Book Critics Circle fiction award for The Middleman and Other Stories ( LJ 6/1/88).-- Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.

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Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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What People are Saying About This

Alice Walker
This is a novel of great importance to any contemporary insight into ourselves as Americans in the midst of enormous social, political, and personal changes.

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Jasmine 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Jasmine is suddenly widowed at the age of seventeen she is fated to a 'life of quiet isolation' in the village where she grew up. But Jasmine does not conform to Indian social norms. When she cuts herself and gets a star-like scar the fortune-teller attributes this to fate Jasmine turnes it into a third-eye in which she can see another world. Jasmine indeed travels to other planes through relationships, immigration to the United States, and as a result she transforms into a new brand of woman not found in 'feudal' Hasnapur. The book is a telling of many lives 'Jyoti, Jasmine, Jase, and finally Jane' so the structure is chaotic, shifting it voice and setting to correspond with Jasmine's metamorphosis. If patience prevails the reader will be rewarded with 'one of the most suggestive novels about what it means to become an American.' The New York Times hits the mark because Jasmine clearly describes the immigrant experience, defines what it means to overcome... to suffer, to struggle, and through many lives and trials ultimately to triumph. Jasmine rules her own destiny, until finally she obtains her own 'karma' in life: the discovery of her most complicated identity, and the realization of her inmost desires.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book several times and I keep being fascinated by the story of this woman who goes through numerous transformations (renamings/rebirths)in search for her (a) self. I highly recommend this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book must be read by all Americans, especially those who don't know much about the struggles of immigrants in this country. It makes you take a second look at your non-native born neighbors, friends, co-workers. Other than being a great book of fiction, it helps a reader soul-search a little bit. A great book always has that ability to push one's heart to another place where it's never been.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good book on the struggles of life, however the writer kept the book simple and does not make the reader make any of their own interpretations at all. It is a very basic book, it is still a good book to read, but lacked interest at parts
radiolabaddict More than 1 year ago
Sexual violence dominates this plot. You should know. I wouldn't have read it if I'd known. The main character has a dream, yes, but she's willing to do anything to get it. I understand the sacrifices in the early part, but as she gains education and knowledge of the new country, why does she still rely on men for her success? Instead of a character who stands up for herself, she constantly goes from man to man to be carried along. Without giving away the plot, she violates every ethic I can think of that is of value in oneself. Morals that no one can take away, she gives away. Why? Instead of a moral boundary where she maintains an inner strength, she cheapens herself through superficial and needy relationships that rely on men. They try to pass this off as "love" but nope, it's not love. It's lust and codependency. I would much rather have seen her obtain some self-sufficiency and emotional independence in the end, at least some awareness, but instead, she comes off as a woman who needs men to survive and uses them at others' expense. Yuck.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CALLitLIKEiSEEit More than 1 year ago
Maybe you can relate to a young girl running from her foretold future, escaping an oppressing culture for seeming "freedom" only to realize her frailty and then maybe her strength as she journeys to and through "America." Maybe you can relate to having to reinvent yourself for survival, love, or lust. Murkerjee's Jasmine is provocative and shy; calming and explosive; politically correct and shocking. As the protagonist develops so do the relationships, the settings, and the themes. This story screams "help me" and" leave me alone;" "I am a strong women" and "I am nothing without a man" all at the same time. The cache of characters developed in this story display Murkerjee's talent to pull in the reader, stimulate thoughts and encourage dialogue. Truly enjoyed.
ag74 More than 1 year ago
I read the first couple of chapters and I half way knows what"s going on. I think I need to re-read to get the right understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book makes you think: is this is what the American dream is about? The main character of the book is pregnant, with a disvaled man, and leaves him for the American dream....its extremely pathetic.