Cover image for Jasmine
Mukherjee, Bharati.
Personal Author:
First paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
241 pages ; 21 cm
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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 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. " of the most suggestive novels we have about what it is to become an American." -- The New York Times Book Review

Author Notes

Bharati Mukherjee was born in Calcutta, India on July 27, 1940. She received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Calcutta in 1959 and a master's degree from the University of Baroda in 1961. After sending six stories to the University of Iowa, she was accepted into the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She received an M.F.A. in 1963 and a doctorate in comparative literature in 1969 from the University of Iowa.

She married fellow student Clark Blaise, a Canadian author, in 1963. They moved to Montreal in 1966, where she taught English at McGill University. They moved back to the United States in 1980. After teaching creative writing at Columbia University, New York University, and Queens College, she taught postcolonial and world literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

She wrote numerous books during her lifetime including The Tiger's Daughter, Wife, Darkness, Jasmine, The Holder of the World, Desirable Daughters, The Tree Bride, and Miss New India. In 1988, The Middleman and Other Stories won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. She died from complications of rheumatoid arthritis and takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a stress-induced heart condition, on January 28, 2017 at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this stunning picture of an immigrant's identity crisis, an Indian woman who now lives in the U.S. can't quite shrug off her past but still pursues her cultural transformation as an American with a reckless intensity that is shocking and yet uproariously compelling.

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.