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CompleteMartialArts.com - Invisible Lives

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Manufacturer: Downtown Press
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813.6
EAN: 9781416517054
ISBN: 1416517057
Label: Downtown Press
Manufacturer: Downtown Press
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 288
Publication Date: 2006-09-05
Publisher: Downtown Press
Studio: Downtown Press

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Editorial Reviews:

From the acclaimed author of Imaginary Men comes an enchanting new novel about a young woman with an uncanny ability to see deep into every heart but her own.

Lakshmi Sen was born with a magical ability to perceive the secret longings in others. Putting aside her own dreams to help run her widowed mother's struggling Seattle sari shop, Mystic Elegance, Lakshmi knows exactly how to bring happiness to customers -- from lonely immigrants to starry-eyed young brides. And to honor her father's dying wish, she has agreed to marry a respectable Indian doctor who will uphold her family's traditions.

But when a famous Indian actress chooses Mystic Elegance to provide her wedding trousseau, Lakshmi finds herself falling for the actress's sexy chauffeur -- all-American Nick Dunbar -- and her powers seem to desert her just as she needs them most. As Nick draws Lakshmi into his world, however, new dreams awaken in her, and she begins to uncover deeper, startling longings in her mother, her friends, her fianc�, and even herself. But choosing between Nick and her fianc� seems an impossible task, like intuiting the very nature of true love. Is it instantly recognizable or does it need time to grow? And how can she possibly know for sure?

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Boring...
Comment: Ok if I want a B Grade bollywood movie, I'll rent one. At least it will have better clothes, more depth to characters, and at least one nice song. This book was like reading thru a bad script written in a hurry, like junk food that still leaves you hungry. The character development is very poor and the descriptions of fabrics. If you want a visually stimulating book - read the Feast of Roses instead!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: Invisible (plot)!
Comment: Looking for books in the same genre and style of writing as Bharati Mukherjee or Chitra Banerjee and of course Jhumpa Lahiri, I was highly diasppointed and frustrated to read this trash called "Invisible Lives". It is a badly orchestrated fusion of stale Hindi movie masala, a bit of Mills and Boons kind of romance thrown in and a then the sad old and boring story of Indian girls sacrificing love for family!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Comment: INVISIBLE LIVES is a sweet and sort of predictable read in that chick-lit way, but the Indian and paranormal twists make it good fun and add a unique element to the more predictable parts of the story.

Lakshmi Sen is a young Indian woman in Seattle with an odd ability to read people's emotions. She physically sees them (this is the supernatural part of the story but it is not addressed as supernatural--the story is not about explaining this ability), and this gives her a great advantage where she works in her mother's sari shop.

Lakshmi's life is going along fairly smoothly. She has a good job, and her family has found a good Indian doctor for her to marry. The excitement that a Bollywood star brings to the shop, however, disrupts her life more than one would think. Whenever the star's handsome chauffeur is around, Lakshmi's special abilities that make her so good at finding the perfect sari for anyone, disappear.

What's a girl to do?

Lakshmi is a powerful and memorable character, and her story is a fun, fast-paced read. The story is quite well-written, and Lakshmi's extra abilities are approached very interestingly, as just a part of who she is rather than the entire story. It's an excellent book, but it does lack a bit of a spark. I'd still pick up more by Anjali Banerjee, and recommend this novel.

Reviewed by: Jocelyn Pearce

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Parodying superstars, parroting Mistress of spices, still charms
Comment: Visited by goddess Lakshmi within the womb and given direction & explanation for her life, Lakshmi Sen has a special gift of visions & intuition which allow her glimpses into peoples psyche.

Running a sari shop set in scenic Canada, Lakshmi has the opportunity to provide people with drapery which makes tremendous but subtle differences to their lives, via selling them appropriate sari's and dispensing advice..

Because of the close inspiration of Mistress of Spices; a novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and eventually a movie from Gurinda Chadar starring Aishwarya; I have spent nearly 2 hours researching into both authors (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni & Anjali Banerjee) to discover whether they are related.

Unfortunately even after extensive research and comparison, various biographies and their individual websites I am unable to conclusively say either way!

However, the reference was not idle.

The style of Mistress of Spices, itself reminiscent of Like Water for Chocolate (another successful novel turned movie), Invisible Lives weaves a story of mythical abilities with everyday lives to create a "modern fable".

As for the story itself, both style, protagonist & supporting cast - it was fascinating.

Following a fairly standard plot - Laskhmi living up to the dreams and expectations of her family, & still taking a path she can live with - it is the intimate details of what is to me foreign lives I found so fascinating.

Books written by people of different heritages can provide such an illuminating glimpse into their world - they write in their own unique voice and are mostly not even aware of it.

In example, using phrases which are never translated, referring to concepts which are alien to other cultures and implying expectations that may not necessarily be understood.

Nevertheless, the plot is as simple as any other light & fluffy romance, and if like me you are a fan of such gentle pleasant reading, then you also may find yourself awake well into the night concluding this story.

Emotionally, one does not invest in Lakshmi Sen - and I found the changes in her love interest towards the end of the book, created by the author to defer our sympathies to him, to be quite artifical and unconvincing.

A further observation is on the introduction of a character called Asha Rae - a big bollywood film actress who in the story is marrying, and comes to Lakshmi's shop to purchase saris for her wedding party.

In what is clearly a parody of Aishwarya Rai (the already mentioned Bollywod superstar and heroine of Mistress of Spices), Anjali Banerjee reveals a little bitterness and this reader speculated upon cause of said. ???!!!

Light and frothy, with enough emotional content to keep you reading to the end, Invisible Lives was a very satisfying read.

kotori Sept 2007

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Good Gora Review
Comment: Even though I am an American I love this genre of books. It is well written, tells a story of triumph over trouble and how those involved make it through thier lives. I wondered if the Bollywood star was somewhat modeled after Aish!

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