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Clear Light of Day Paperback – September 12, 2000
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About the Author
The New York Times
“A rich, Chekhovian novel by one of the most gifted of contemporary Indian writers.”
The New Yorker
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. Love teaches the characters how to forgive and forget, how to compromise with one another with compassion, how to move on and how to stand side by side with each other to face the world together. Especially to Bimla who had melted her anger and learn to love the world again for what it is with the help of her loving sister, Tara. Love will overcome all differences and difficulties and is the exact recipe to help us get through the ups and downs of life.
This is a truly, amazing book that I greatly enjoyed. It stays true to how family relationships are like. Being a member of a three child family, I can understand how each characters is feeling and is amazed at how it greatly relate to how I feel for my siblings at times. I both hated and love my siblings at the same time. Sometimes it may get so frustrating that I vow never to talk to them ever again but it is always love that turns out to be the winner for I always forgive the wrongs they did at times and is able to embrace the frustrating side of my siblings for I love them and love them just the way they are just like the characters Anita Desai portrayed in this book.
The beautiful and easily accessible language makes it a very enjoyable book to read. The language is filled with so much emotions and passion, that it sometimes feel like I am reading a prose with some poetic element in it. Anita Desai has also skillfully put in many insightful views to what life is and helps us to be both expectant of the bad sides of the world and yet be optimistic to the good sides of the world.
However at times, the plot seems to be developing at a slow rate with no great climax in the story, in fact it is a book that is presented almost in a monotone that makes readers to hope for more movements in the story. However I like it just the way it is, for life does not always consist of shocking, exciting events like the made up stories from fictions, in fact life is rather dull, boring at times and most of the time is spent on waiting for something to happen just like the events and the tone of the book.
This is a passionately, beautifully written domestic drama that is definitely a must to read. Get it now!
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.