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Clear Light of Day Paperback – September 12, 2000
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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
“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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent dramatization of family relationships across time.. The children, while cared for by servants and an aunt, are neglected by their parents. Read morePublished 4 months ago by D. Rovetti
Very good book dealing with family and values. Interesting portrayal of India and its culture.Published 12 months ago by Nancy Mitchell
The writing is elegant (almost old-fashioned), but may seem slow and laborious. The entire story (except of one or two scenes at a neighbor's house and one in a park) happens in... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Witold
A very sensitive author. I enjoy reading her books. It gives me an idea of how people get used to another culture and adapt whilst their traditions still remain with them fading a... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Judith Ashley Banks
Good reading, good story. I enjoyed this book very much and would suggest it to anyone who wants to learn about India through Indian authors.Published on February 9, 2014 by Susan Marx
While the novel is titled 'Clear Light of Day', the color that one feels while reading it is muted - like Cezanne's blue. Read morePublished on May 13, 2013 by Islandgirl
It should first be noted that Anita Desai is clearly an erudite scholar of English, poetry, and the written word. Read morePublished on May 6, 2012 by Renee
Desai's "Clear Light of Day" concentrates on the Das family at Old Delhi, specifically the children who are alive after years of living together and then parting. Read morePublished on March 14, 2012 by NeverneverLand
Set in India's Old Delhi, "Clear Light of Day" recounts the lives of four siblings - two sisters and two brothers - who grew up in an ever-changing India. Read morePublished on February 12, 2011 by thing two