HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Clear Light Of Day by Anita Desai
Loading...

Clear Light Of Day (original 1980; edition 2000)

by Anita Desai (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7272231,906 (3.57)71
"The novel begins with the triennial visit of the younger sister Tara and her diplomat husband to the old family home, a decaying suburban mansion on the banks of the Jumma outside Old Delhi. Here Bim the older sister, lives with the youngest brother, Baba. Baba is autistic, a childlike, speechless whisp of a man who spends his days playing 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas' and 'Donkey seranade' on an ancient wind-up gramophone. The oldest brother, Raja, has moved away. The book divides itself equally between the present of Tara's visit and the sisters' memories of the past ... The visit is a strain -- a series of under-the-surface estrangements and rapprochements, with sisterly care ebbing and flowing." Times Lit Suppl. "This work 'does what only the best novels can do: it totally submerges us. It takes us so deeply into another world that we almost fear we won't be able to climb out again.'" N Y Times Book Rev.… (more)
Member:tomcatMurr
Title:Clear Light Of Day
Authors:Anita Desai (Author)
Info:Harper Perennial (2000), Edition: Reprint, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Lit Fic

Work Information

Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai (1980)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 71 mentions

English (21)  Italian (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
International boundaries don't keep out dysfunctional and estranged families. Not that that's news but we do have the fantasy that it must be better somewhere other than here. Desai shows us that's not true. Even in India where family seems much more central than here families can grow apart. What might have worked in an earlier age does not seem to prevent things from spinning out of control. With India there are even more questions. How does their history of control by Britain, their history of Hindu and Muslim clashing, and their overwhelming heat add to the picture. Are they causal or just coincidental? They are all over every aspect of this story and ever present but Desai does not seem to see a connection. Or did I miss something? What Desai never mentions is the caste system but the servants are ever present and definitely looked down on upon from what is apparently a middle class situation. The central character is the sister who in her younger days seemed like the one most likely to take off on her own but now is the one who never leaves. Her brother and sister have fled in different directions but she stays behind to care for the developmentally challenged younger brother. She resents her older brother leaving her behind and her sister who opted, as expected, for her dream of getting married and having kids. Can they all get it together and bury the hatchets. That's the entire story. If you enjoy reading about that this book will show how that can happen even in another culture. Learning about the Indian culture was the part that made this interesting. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Apr 2, 2023 |
Every three years, Tara and her husband, Bakul, travel to Old Delhi to visit her sister, Bimla, the central character. Tara fondly remembers their shared childhood when everyone got along. Bim has never married. She lives in the old family home, teaching school and caring for her younger brother who has autism. The storyline follows the Das family conflicts and uncovers their sources. Bim is estranged from her other brother. There are lingering jealousies and rivalries between the sisters. In the later parts of the book, the narrative flashes back to the days of Partition, with its civil unrest. Finally, we come back to the present and find Bim reassessing her relationship to her family.

The primary theme relates to changes that occur due to the passage of time. Music, poetry, and arts are referenced throughout. There is not a lot going on in this novel. It is a family story that delves into the details of the characters, and their past and present lives. It explores Partition to a certain degree, but it is not the primary focus of the story. It is slow in developing and beautifully written. It will appeal to those who enjoy reflective stories about family relationships.

“Although it was shadowy and dark, Bim could see as well as by the clear light of day that she felt only love and yearning for them all, and if there were hurts, these gashes and wounds in her side that bled, then it was only because her love was imperfect and did not encompass them thoroughly enough, and because it had flaws and inadequacies and did not extend to all equally.”
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Tara’s visit to her childhood home in Old Delhi triggers memories of the past for both Tara and her older sister, Bim. The sisters’ different personalities different life choices have set them at odds, but by the end of Tara’s visit they will work through their painful memories to find forgiveness, acceptance, and peace.

This novel transcends the genre of domestic fiction in ways that remind me of authors like Jane Austen. The family home in Old Delhi and the family circle are central to the plot. The action travels no farther than next door, except in memory. The social milieu is confined to the small Old Delhi neighborhood. However, the neighborhood was irrevocably changed with India’s partition in 1947, and the effects of change reverberate in the novel’s present. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jul 3, 2022 |
Although this was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, I couldn’t quite see where this was going or the point of it all. I kept expecting things to happen or the narrative to take a coherent form or the characters to develop more and I encountered nothing like this. I came away from it feeling somehow unsatisfied.

That is partly illustrated by the fact that, as I write this post, I’m not entirely sure how to summarise what I’ve read. This is the story of siblings in an Indian family containing episodes both of their childhood but also views of that childhood from their perspectives as adults provoked by the return of one sister from overseas as she visits.

While the lengthy and helpful Wikipedia entry states that this is a post-partition novel, I’d disagree. While the bulk of the narrative takes place post-partition, the foundation for their memories is in fact set prior to the nation’s independence.

This is important and something that I feel isn’t fully explored in the novel. The impending crisis is briefly portrayed in a flashback to India of the late 1940s. Both partition and the assassination of Ghandi are seen through the eyes of the children and the impact it has on their relationships and psychologies.

It’s this that I think Desai could have made much, much more of. It was something that her daughter, Kiran Desai, used very successfully as a vehicle for her powerful Booker-winner The Inheritance of Loss. Head to that and skip this. ( )
  arukiyomi | Dec 27, 2020 |
A good metaphorical tale of a family of four siblings that revolves around Pakistani independence. Sometimes a little slow, but with excellent passages and deep characters. ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Memory is a strange bell--
Jubilee and knell--
Emily Dickinson

See, now they vanish,
The faces and places, with the self which, as
it could, loved them,
To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern.
T. S. Eliot
Dedication
For Didi and Pip
First words
The koels began to call before daylight.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work may share an ISBN with Pet Minders (Jugglers) by Robina Beckles Willson.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

"The novel begins with the triennial visit of the younger sister Tara and her diplomat husband to the old family home, a decaying suburban mansion on the banks of the Jumma outside Old Delhi. Here Bim the older sister, lives with the youngest brother, Baba. Baba is autistic, a childlike, speechless whisp of a man who spends his days playing 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas' and 'Donkey seranade' on an ancient wind-up gramophone. The oldest brother, Raja, has moved away. The book divides itself equally between the present of Tara's visit and the sisters' memories of the past ... The visit is a strain -- a series of under-the-surface estrangements and rapprochements, with sisterly care ebbing and flowing." Times Lit Suppl. "This work 'does what only the best novels can do: it totally submerges us. It takes us so deeply into another world that we almost fear we won't be able to climb out again.'" N Y Times Book Rev.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.57)
0.5
1 2
1.5
2 7
2.5 5
3 26
3.5 6
4 40
4.5 2
5 12

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 208,403,824 books! | Top bar: Always visible