The Mistress of Spices

The Mistress of Spices

Book - 1997
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A first novel by the author of the short story collection,Arranged Marriage,The Mistress of Spicesis a mystical tale told by Tilo, a young Indian woman in an old woman's body who has been trained in the secret powers of spices. Her special knowledge leads her to Oakland, California where she uses it to help the local Indian community by opening a spice shop from which she administers spices as curatives. Tilo can see into people's hearts and minds but it is a mistress's duty to keep herself at a distance, "not too far nor too near, in calm kindness poised." However, Tilo is unable to obey her charge, and she becomes emotionally involved with her customers as they struggle with the demands of their families, the clash of the old way versus the American way, racism, abusive husbands-all of the complexities of living in the modern world. It is also her duty to limit her involvement to the Indian community. But Tilo finds herself mysteriously drawn to an American man named Raven, whose innermost thoughts she cannot read. Her complex and passionate relationships with her customers and Raven are in violation of her spice mistress vows, and so she finds herself forced to choose between the magical of an immortal and the vicissitudes of life in the real world. Vibrant, vivacious, headstrong and daring, Tilo is unforgettable and so is her story."
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Doubleday, 1997
Edition: 1st Anchor Books ed. --
ISBN: 9780385482370
Branch Call Number: FIC Divak 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 338 p


From Library Staff

Paired with Black Donnelly's Brewing Co's Roman Line Lager for Booktoberfest 2018

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
AnnabelleLee27 Nov 29, 2018

A dreamy and unusual tale written in sensual prose. Themes include love, duty, longing, and belonging - and how those themes resonate whether one is an immigrant or a native of the US. I found it different, entertaining and haunting.

Nov 15, 2010

Beautiful mystical-magical-realism novel. The writing is rich and layered, and at times you feel that you can almost smell the spices.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Find it at WPPL

To Top