The book opens with Tara being stirred awake by the koels calling at day break. As she walks down the garden of the house reminiscing about the past, Bim comes across. And thats how the two main characters of the book gets introduced to the readers – their conversations unfold their relationship and their expressions reveal their character.
The story quickly takes pace and come in a host of characters all central to the plot. There is Bakul, Tara’s husband, the upright administrative office settled abroad with well heeled relative in India and then there is Raja, the estranged brother who walked out of their lives having married his Muslim girlfriend. The story keeps veering back and forth to the past and the present, sometimes through dialogues and at times through soliloquies. The opposite lives of the two sisters Bimla and Tara are juxtaposed finely, through the homely concerns of the mother of two Tara and the irritating demeanour of the single college lecturer Bimla. Bim’s character becomes stronger and stronger through her conversations with Tara, Bakul and especially with Baba, their autistic brother.
You must read this book, not for the plot or the setting, nor for the flues diction but for the subtle manner in which the characters have been treated. A new emotion – sometimes a hidden guilt, other times a a long subdued passion and then others a partly forgotten fear, is released with every conversation and expression of the characters. And all the characters of the novel – Tara, Bakul, Bim, Baba, Raja, Mira Masi, the Mishra sisters, just blend in with the texture of the prose.
My rating 4.5 / 5
Buy it on Amazon : Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai
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