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Clear Light of Day Paperback – September 12, 2000


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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: 5.5 x 0.4 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 (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

If your going to read it for the story itself you might be disappointed... the book goes nowhere slowly...very slowly.
Andre Gordon
Their flashes of insight and the author's analysis may seem contrived at times, but it's difficult to imagine how it could be expressed better.
Roger C. Sealy
Love will overcome all differences and difficulties and is the exact recipe to help us get through the ups and downs of life.
Li

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Li on January 12, 2006
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Gabree on January 27, 2006
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful 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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By jaymccoy@prodigy.net on February 11, 1998
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Roger C. Sealy on March 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was a book that kept my interest from the beginning, in large part because of the expert characterization of the central characters. It is both depressing and optimistic; the characters mostly are constrained by their personality and history, yet at the end are able to transcend themselves. It seems that in returning to what they are attempting to escape from - the family - they are finally able to become whole. Their flashes of insight and the author's analysis may seem contrived at times, but it's difficult to imagine how it could be expressed better.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the best book I have ever read. Anita Desai has beautifuly crafted this book. She is one those rare authors who have depicted Indian settings in a truthful and spirited manner. Even without Indian background the book would have made a great piece as charactersation is very solid and anyone can identify their own lives with those of the main characters in the book. This is a story of family, passions, egos and love. From the start to end it feels you are reading some wonderful prose and poetry. A MUST READ!
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