This author is one of my favourites and I always look forward to her books. Like Thrity Unrigar she is writing of cultural diversity, of the difficulties of parents from one culture trying desperately to come to grips with another culture. This particular story is also one of the relationship between mothers and daughters - and also of how parents try to protect their children from anything harmful and children remain their children even when they become adults!
I could feel for Rakhi while she tried to handle her traditional looking parents who were anything but traditional. Rakhi's mother dealt in dreams - it was not a conversational gambit and nothing you could mention. It was not something up for discussion even within the family and everyone knew it was out of bounds but it was very much in their midst. How Rakhi grew up dealing with this and herself grown up, married, separated and with a young daughter of her own trying very hard to understand and accept her mother and why her mother acted the way she did is the crux of the story.
When personal tragedy follows a national one in the form of 9/11 Rakhi has to try to balance her world - she knows no other world other than the American one and now she finds herself classed as alien. This must be a story repeated thousands of times in so many homes post September 11th and the fear and insecurity that followed is something I could empathize with so very much.
The mystical does not appeal very much to me and I thought I would not really like this book but it drew me in. Apart from the dream telling (which of course is a major part of the story) the story is also about relationships and this is the one that held my interest.
I did not much care for Mistress of Spices. I certainly liked this one.