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The Henna Artist: A Novel de Alka Joshi
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The Henna Artist: A Novel (edició 2021)

de Alka Joshi (Autor)

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4823338,401 (4.06)15
A talented henna artist for wealthy confidantes finds her efforts to control her own destiny in 1950s Jaipur threatened by the abusive husband she fled as a teenage girl.
Títol:The Henna Artist: A Novel
Autors:Alka Joshi (Autor)
Informació:MIRA (2021), Edition: First Time Trade, 400 pages
Col·leccions:Llista de desitjos, Per llegir
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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The Henna Artist de Alka Joshi

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Es mostren 1-5 de 33 (següent | mostra-les totes)
  chapterthree | Jun 2, 2021 |
Oh my god! This was beautiful. I was hung! All of those plot twists, every time I had a theory, it was crashed down by something better! Up until the very end I was wondering how things could end up good for the sisters! Of all of the Reese's Book Club this is the first I read this fast! Two days to just eat up this amazing book! I loved how complicated the relationship between the sisters were. It broke my heart for Lukshmi's sister... I am just so happy that she has a family of her own, and a new place to call home, with a job where she can prosper and use her talent. The fact that her little sister will also be able to keep studying is amazing news! Loved, loved it! ( )
  iamcmims | Apr 4, 2021 |
In the mid-1950s in Jaipur, India, Lakshmi Shastri works as a henna artist for upper caste women. She is also an experienced herbalist. Having fled an abusive arranged marriage, she has worked hard to establish a business and reputation. All is going well until her husband Hari arrives with a young girl, Radha. The thirteen-year-old is her sister of whose existence Lakshmi had been unaware. The stubborn, high-spirited Radha threatens to upend all that her older sister has strived to build.

Lakshmi is a multi-dimensional character. She is an intelligent, independent, determined, goal-oriented self-made woman whom the reader cannot but like. Of course, she’s not perfect; her pride and ambition sometimes cloud her judgement. In the course of the novel, she becomes more self-aware and takes steps to change. Her growth is convincing; she has sufficient time and motivation to change.

Other characters are believable as well. I found myself as frustrated with Radha as Lakshmi is, but I had to remind myself of her age. Hari, the husband Lakshmi left, is someone it is easy to hate, but events show that he has good qualities as well. Malik, the 8-year-old street urchin who acts as Lakshmi’s assistant, is so clever; he is the source of humour that does occasionally lighten the atmosphere.

The novel focuses on issues that primarily affect women: motherhood, contraception, abortion, arranged marriages, domestic abuse, and societal expectations. The vulnerability and powerlessness of poor women is heart-breaking, so Lakshmi’s efforts to empower herself and Radha are admirable.

The book immerses the reader in Indian culture. There is considerable information about customs, dress, ceremonies, and the caste system. Any lover of Indian cuisine will enjoy the many food references.

A weakness is the very tidy ending. The author tried too hard to have a happy conclusion so the last chapters seem forced. I gather there is a sequel, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, being released in North America in June.

I listened to this book, and the narration of Sneha Mathan is exceptional. I’m happy I chose the audiobook format for this novel. It is not a literary masterpiece but has an interesting, fairly fast-paced plot and engaging characters. It also has a positive message about hope and healing.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog ( and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Feb 26, 2021 |
The Henna Artist provides an interesting look into the rites and rituals of India in the 1950s through the eyes of an accomplished henna artist, Lakshima. She grew up in impoverished circumstances and was married at an early age to Hari, a man chosen by her parents. She learned her craft in her village and the healing power of herbs to heal from her mother-in-law. Her sister is born after Lakishna disgraces her family by leaving her husband and the village to find a better life in Jaipur. Lakshima struggles to create a life among the privileged classes, a favor which can be withdrawn at any time by the whims of those she serves. When her sister is brought to her by her former husband, her life becomes more complicated and eventually resolves into a family life with the best use of her talents. ( )
  pdebolt | Feb 11, 2021 |
A young rural woman, literally sold off by her parents into an abusive arranged marriage ran away to Mumbai and managed by persistence, perspicacity and sheer force of will to carve out a comfortable existence for herself as a henna artist for the city’s richest women.

As the book opens, we get to watch her minister to “her ladies” by providing herbs, advice, a gentle touch and, of course, the most exquisite henna designs for special occasions and, her talent, for helping women make themselves irresistible to their husbands so they can bear sons and heirs. On the one hand, it is a lucrative enough life to keep her fed, housed with enough extra money to put aside. On the other hand, the existence is a tenuous one since it depends on her satisfying the whims and feeding the vanity of wealthy ladies with too much time and money
on their hands.

Their fickle goodwill is critical to her success. Yet she has carved out a niche that allows her to transcend the strictures of her caste and sex.

The savings are to finish building a house that will allow her to retire and, finally, live life on her own terms. Things have gotten dicey since her ambitious design has exceeded put her into debt and the builder is less than honest. We watch her hustle and make deals with men that would normally be considered unseemly in her culture. She is clearly balancing on the edge of a knife blade. Yet her hustles look like they will get her through.

Then her husband arrives in the city with a sister she never knew she had. Her husband extorts money. Her young sister is totally untutored about life in the city or correct behavior. Both nearly destroy her.

Circumstances become dire. Her ladies turn on her. She faces the loss of everything she had aspired to yet she is surprised that a few people really do value her enough help her see where her real talents and path lie. For a woman who has been fighting for her whole life to live on her own terms, she finally finds the real nature of freedom.

The ending is satisfying but far from pat.. An excellent book! ( )
  lfiering | Feb 8, 2021 |
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No n'hi ha cap

A talented henna artist for wealthy confidantes finds her efforts to control her own destiny in 1950s Jaipur threatened by the abusive husband she fled as a teenage girl.

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Mitjana: (4.06)
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