October 05, 2011

Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee

This novel was not what I expected. When I first picked it up I had thought it would be about a woman's life in India. And to an extent it was, however, it took a twist and brought the woman to America.

The main character is a woman named Jasmine. Throughout the story she goes by several other names including Jane, Jyoti, and Jase. Each name she has seems to bring its own life with it and she has several different periods of time in her life.

She starts out as a young girl in India where she marries at fifteen. When her husband is murdered in a bombing, she travels to America with the intent of committing suicide at the college campus he was to go to. However, she is stopped by a fierce determination to live after a hardship befalls her.

Without giving away too much of the novel I don't want to give greater detail to the events of her life. She lives with several people performing different tasks at each and this storyline flits back and forth with one of her final stays, with a handicapped man whose child she is carrying.

I was impressed with this novel. While I originally wanted to dislike it for not being what I expected I found that it told an impressive story. One might not think much of the hardships of one woman, but this book made you care about her and at the end I was rooting for her to take a certain path in life.

The language is clear and doesn't get overly wordy. Even though a lot of the concepts are from India Mukherjee makes them easy to understand. Overall, it was a great story.

Published in 1989
241 pages

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