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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Clean. Great Binding. Cover Shows Light Wear. Some underlining/notes.
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Clear Light of Day Paperback – September 12, 2000

4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A wonderful novel about silence and music, about the partition of a family as well as a nation.”

The New York Times

“A rich, Chekhovian novel by one of the most gifted of contemporary Indian writers.”

The New Yorker

From the Back Cover

“A rich Chekhovian novel by one of the most gifted of contemporary Indian writers.” – New Yorker

“Anita Desai has created an entire little civilization here from a fistful of memories, from a patchwork of sickroom dreams and childhood games and fairy tales. Clear Light of Day does what only the very best novels can do; it totally submerges us. It also takes us so deeply into another world that we almost fear we won’t be able to climb out again.” – Anne Tyler, New York Times

“A wonderful novel about silence and music, about the partition of a family as well as a nation.” – New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (September 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618074511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618074518
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a very warming, touching book about family interactions, moments of happiness and moments of sadness all intertwined together to become what life is, a series of events, sometimes good, sometimes bad, what comes, comes. What is gone is gone just like the snail mentioned in the book that was found by the characters at times but only to lose the pearl again where the cycle repeats itself. This is a story that informs us about the ups and downs in life and how everyone faces it differently. To do so, the author cleverly uses true realistic characters to portray this

Each member of the Das family is distinctly unique. It is a touching story about how distinctly different each individual is and how each has their own separate lives, keeping them apart from each other. Bimla is independent and intelligent and is able to survive on her own without the help of others but unfortunately she is very dissatisfied with life. Tara, unlike her elder sister, is not ambitious and is very dependent. All she wanted is to find a life where she will not have to take responsibility and have no need to worry about her life which she succeeded in finding an ambassador as her husband. Lastly Raja, the elder brother, who is ambitious and has always dreamt of being the hero ended up as a successful, well-off man. With each leading a different life, each has a different view of things and this leads to many conflicts between the siblings.

However no matter how different they are, they grew up together, shared many precious moments together, creating a bond that can never be broken, love. Love is what connected them to each other.
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Format: Paperback
The partition of the Indian subcontinent into two nations has held sway over the Indian imagination for more than three decades. In fiction and in films, the troubles figure as watershed and as metaphor, having as much force for Indians today as the Civil War had for Americans at the turn of the last century, although with the important difference that the War Between the States left this country united rather than divided.

The shadow of partition falls heavily on the characters in this novel by the distinguished Bombay storyteller Anita Desai. In place of neo-Marxist realism or Kiplingesque romanticism, two favorite Indian modes, "Clear Light of Day" is a hauntingly beautiful story of a bourgeois family's struggle against the forces of disintegration. Two sisters, long separated by distance and life-style, take stock of their family's lives and their own. Tara, beautiful and worldly, has returned from living abroad as the wife of a diplomat. Bim, conventional and competent, has never left Old Delhi where she cares for their younger brother Baba. Their older brother, whose childhood ambition was to be a hero, has married a Moslem and become a successful businessman.

"Clear Light of Day" is an ironic title for a novel so preoccupied with the shadowy border between illusion and reality. Memory forever shields most events from the clear light of day. We who conduct our lives without apparent reference to the momentous times we inhabit will discover new ways of seeing ourselves as we wander in the dying gardens of this thoughtful, imaginative and expressively written book.
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By A Customer on October 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
Quiet, sensitive writing is the hallmark of the author - where words and sentences are never wasted. Like a good feeling it seeps into you - a feeling that is unfortunately sad yet warm. I cried profusely as I read and reread the last few pages. I am sure every reader will find something to identify with when they read the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Set in the 1970's in India, Bim, Tara, Baba and Raja are four children who grew up in Delhi at partition. The novel starts with them 20 years later and then looks back and forth tracing the history of India and the history of their relationships. The main focus is on Bim, the oldest sister who ends up caring for Baba, the retarded brother when Tara, the "pretty" sister marries a diplomat and leads a life of travel and Raja marries a Muslim women, the daughter of a wealthy man and moves away. Bim is resentful caring for the brother in the decaying remains of the family home, symbolic for India and old Delhi itself. The Clear light of day is her recognition towards the end of the book that her love for her family is actually enough, and she begins to give up her resentment. An alcoholic and almost forgotten aunt who briefly plays a powerful role in these almost parent-less children's lives adds an additional dimension to the breadth of potential histories for women.
The book succeeds at providing a close-up look at one Indian family in a deeply troubling and changing time in history. Perhaps Bim's recognition of the "clear light of the day" at the end of the book is contrived, but it works at suggesting how people (like countries) can change.
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Format: Paperback
I've read this book three times, and every time I wept for the astounding truth it forced me to face. Bim's stubborn acknowledgement is one we all must someday make; even though we should never have to. Families are the most difficult part of life, and they are the most rewarding. No other book that I have read expresses this better than Clear Light of Day (with the exception of Anna Karenina).
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