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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. "Rich...one of the most suggestive novels we have about what it is to become an American." -- The New York Times Book Review
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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.

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.)

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