Invisible Lives PDF/EPUB ✓ Paperback

Invisible Lives 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 fiance and even herself But choosing between Nick and her fiance 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

10 thoughts on “Invisible Lives

  1. Regan Regan says:

    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 uniue element to the predictable parts of the storyLakshmi is a powerful and memorable character and her story is a fun fast paced read The story is uite 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 by Anjali Banerjee and recommend this novel

  2. Heather Heather says:

    I was so excited to hear about this author  I love light and fluffy books with magical realism  A book set in a sari shop by an ownvoices author sounded wonderfulLakshmi Sen is visited by the goddess Lakshmi in utero and given a gift of being able to know what people want  She is also made incredibly beautiful but is warned to hide that beauty for reasons that aren't clear  It is never really discussed after the first part of the story eitherShe co owns a sari shop with her mother  She can tell what customers truly need when they come in  She's developing a reputation for it  That draws a Bollywood actress to the store for her wedding outfits  But Lakshmi's gift disappears when she enters the store with her driverThis is the where the book started to lose me  The driver Nick is the guy we are supposed to root for in the story  But he doesn't seem to offer anything good to Lakshmi  Just his presence is harming her  She loses customers when he is around because she is unable to do her jobThere is colorism in this book  An elderly customer comes in to the store and starts talking about how she uses skin lightening cream   It could almost be dismissed as the fancy of a woman who is a ridiculous character but it isn't pointed out as such  Then later a woman is being described as ugly and part of the description is how her skin is so dark  Later the elderly woman from the shop is complimented and she says that the skin lightening cream is workingNick makes several casually racist comments to Lakshmi that aren't commented on  He invites her to meet his family  He says that his sister would love to try on saris because she likes ethnic clothes  I was like Excuse me? but nothing is mentioned about it in the story  Then when he gets there his mother compliments Lakshmi by telling her that she looks so exotic  Yeah  Then he all but orders her to forget about her trip to India to meet the man her mother wants her to marry  On the basis of what?  They barely know each other and she's supposed to give up all previous plans for him?  This guy seems like a control freak that she should get away from uicklyThe book never redeemed Nick for me  It tried but he is still interfering with her work even though the book tried to spin it positivelyLet's count this one as an 'I read it so you don't have to' book This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story

  3. Jennifer Jennifer says:

    Rats This was a book I really really wanted to like As a friend remarked the bones of the book were really good it just didn't have the fleshLakshmi's beauty was part of the theme of invisible lives but it was remarked upon on almost every other page which got old uickly Plus it took away from exploring the invisible lives of the other characters there was also a little about Lakshmi's conflict between the man she wanted and the man her parents and her culture expected her to have The resolution of her conflict is intertwined with the idea of invisible lives but the resolution is presented rather than exploredAlso there was a fair amount of as you know Bob in Bengali culture I wish that either it had been left out of the story entirely and I was given credit as the reader for figuring it out myself or explored in how the characters acted and felt rather than what they said to one anotherI enjoyed the bits about the sari shop the meaning of saris and how the women interact with them That was lovely lovely lovely I found myself browsing saris online because I've always loved the look of them and the book made the actuality of them interesting and beautifulFrom what I read people liked Imaginary Men better and maybe I'll try that book of Banerjee's

  4. Hannah Hannah says:

    I really wanted this book to be good I was looking forward to reading a romance novel featuring an Indian American heroine for a change since non white protagonists are so underrepresented in the genre But while some of the references to Indian culture and the descriptions of the saris in Lakshmi's shop were interesting as a whole this book was a huge disappointment for me The story was just too simplistic the writing style was too bland and the characters were too flat and uninteresting This story might have made an enjoyable fluffy 90 minute movie but it didn't have enough substance for a satisfying novel Also Lakshmi annoyed the crap out of me The only thing worse than a Mary Sue who is unaware of her own beauty is a Mary Sue who is fully aware of her own beauty and has to mention it at least once per page to be certain that her readers don't forget that she looks like a goddess Gag

  5. Christy Christy says:

    Kind of interesting but lacked a believable romance I enjoyed the sari shop setting but I was really annoyed at how often characters were shrieking or screeching at each other Nick was a complete cipher of a person except for having a great family in contrast to her previous boyfriend's family who could never have accepted an Indian I found it odd that the sari shop was supposedly doing poorly yet they were able to travel back and forth to India with no apparent concern Many other jarring details that I could have forgiven in a better romance This one just failed in that regard

  6. Michele Michele says:

    This book was boring It was predictable and I really wasn't crazy about the writing For example the main character is supposed to be beautiful Well in every other sentence the author wrote how pretty she was she is so stunning she is so gorgeous she created car accidents because of her beautyOK I GET IT SHE IS BEAUTIFUL It was a bit ridiculous

  7. Erin (PT) Erin (PT) says:

    I wanted to like Invisible Lives than I did I did enjoy it but in the end I found the conceit better than the execution The main flaw of the book I feel is it's first person point of view First person isn't a deal breaker for me; I don't have preferences in that respect but there are intrinsic limitations to each point of view choice First person is often a 'telling' point of view versus showing which is a harder emotional sell and reuires the reader to believe that the narrator is a reasonably reliable narrator As well on some level its success depends on you finding the narrator if not likeable than at least relatable I don't think the problem here is cultural at least in the respect that Banerjee does a good job of keeping her protagonist Lakshmi's situationdilemma universal—the pressure of following family's expectation against following one's own heart Where Banerjee fails for me first of all is in Lakshmi herself It doesn't bother me that Lakshmi is devastatingly beautiful; for one thing it doesn't feel like Banerjee makes much of Lakshmi's beauty except as a demonstration of Lakshmi's endless kindness in hiding her beauty for the benefit of others Banerjee doesn't really fall into the main Mary Sue trap of having Lakshmi be irresistible to all men because of her beauty either so it's easily hand waveable But as mentioned there is Lakshmi's huge and boundless kindness to go along with her beauty Part of it is encoded in the story itself; the story tips over into magical realism with Lakshmi's empathetic knowing an extrasensory perception that gives her glimpses into people's minds and hearts to see their topmost longings sorrows and joys The influx of emotion from other people drives Lakshmi to help wherever she can—largely in the selection of perfect saris for her customers—and can be seen in one sense as self protective As well Lakshmi's benevolent kindness is simultaneously shown as her weakness; her inability to let go of the concerns hurts and expectations of others obscures her views of her own desires and wantsbut as flaws go it is that most Mary Sue of traits—her flaw is that she's too selfless too giving too invested in others to the detriment of herself And Banerjee falls into that trap in the way she glorifies the flaw at the same time she makes it the heart of Lakshmi's conflict The fact that Lakshmi regularly makes a martyr of herself is regarded as a cute foible a'la Bella Swan's and all the other heroines like her clumsiness than an actual problem and once realized Lakshmi is able to or less release her 'bad habit' with no effort than deciding to do so and find perfect and permanent happiness with her chosen love As well the romance itself is the paper thin stuff of modern rom com based nearly uite literally on love at first sight and an acuaintanceship that encompasses one and a half dates Though the story set up lends itself to these kinds of relationships—the crux of the story is how the lovers find their way to their HEA thus the love itself has to be dispensed with uickly to get to that meaty middle—I don't really enjoy those kinds of stories because I'm not sold on the relationship They don't feel substantive enough to convince me that these relationships have what it takes to make it past the first downturn and I always end up feeling vaguely cheated that I'm supposed to care very deeply about whether these people get together when I don't feel like I've been given a good enough reason for why they should be together or that I should careThere are however things I think Banerjee did really well As I said I liked that although Lakshmi was supposed to be very beautiful Banerjee didn't make a great deal of that beauty It was a side note and not central to the story I liked that Lakshmi had both a loving relationship with her mother and conflict I think it's very easy to err on one side or the other for a lazy writer and I think Banerjee did a reasonably good job of showing the pluses and minuses of a close knit family; the support and love on one side and the constriction and pressure to conformity on the other I also liked that Lakshmi had close female friends who supported each other wholeheartedly and without catlike pettiness or judgment By and large the relationships were open and honest and emotional without being overwrought The thing I liked most I think was that a lot of stories like this go one of two ways either the Americanized child realizes their fault in trying to move away from their culture and rejects their Americanization or the child defies and disdains their restrictive oppressive native culture and embraces the freedom of their Americanization Banerjee chose to reject both options keeping Lakshmi's deep love and connectedness to her culture front and center—and sympathetically so—while also acknowledging the parts of her that didn't strictly belong to Indian culture any I also liked that although Ravi was not destined to be with Lakshmi Banerjee didn't take the easy way out and make him a jerk or otherwise horrible person even when I think Lakshmi was almost looking for him to be They were well suited to each other and got along and if Lakshmi hadn't met her American beau why can't I remember his name? first things with her and Ravi might very well have blossomed entirely differently And I like the ambiguity of that; that it could have been love except Lakshmi's heart had already spoken its different wants I feel as though the story almost would have made a better movie than book; it didn't feel like there was uite enough of the story there to be satisfying as a novel and at under 200 ebook pages it's pretty short but with the added visuals and time compression of the cinema I think it would be a perfect offering for a 'chick flick' with decent crossover appeal The book however relates unfortunately back to its title in that respect because it feels like too much is invisible and thin as one of Lakshmi's silk saris

  8. Jmp Jmp says:

    I can't remember where or when I read this wonderful book But here years later I still remember it as enchanting and haunting I loved the mystical idea that she could perceive the just right Sari for each customer

  9. Gina Marinacci keolker Gina Marinacci keolker says:

    I loved the mystical world and insight into Indian culture in this book

  10. Joy Joy says:

    I needed something light and fluffy and this delivered

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