Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Blue Bedspread” as Want to Read:
The Blue Bedspread
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Blue Bedspread

3.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  650 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
The Blue Bedspread has earned Raj Kamal Jha endless comparisons to Raymond Carver. And his first novel does tell a Carver-esque tale, in which poverty-stricken family members love and torment one another in the privacy of their home. Father drinks; mother is an absence; sister and brother find solace in each other. In addition, his voice is that unsettling combination--aff ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 4th 2000 by Random House Trade (first published 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Blue Bedspread, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Blue Bedspread

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,181)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
There is the story line, and then there is the prose style. Both might, at first reading, bring to mind Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. Here, though, point of view and tone is subdued. Evasion and narrative elision is maintained throughout The Blue Bedspread, which might leave some readers asking for more (clarification).

Unlike The God of Small Things, where the loose ends come together in the end, The Blue Bedspread does not propose a unified tale. In this sense, it is realistic and ho
Danyelle Ferruccio
disturbing and downright wrong at times. very upsetting but a story i will remember for a very long time. it definitely accomplished what the author was trying to achieve. when i finished this book - i sat shell shocked for twenty minutes trying to figure out why i had read the entire book but unable to get it off my mind.
Oct 28, 2014 Neha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2009 Geetly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, india
I picked it up from the shelf just because I wanted to read something by an Indian author. After having read it, I can't be more glad I did.
The story is interesting and writing simple. Infact, its the simplistic,no-frills,straight-from-the-eyes-of-a-common-man style of writing that makes the book stunning.Although the protagonist has a dysfunctional family,quite unrealistic for most of the readers, yet the daily life observations of the unnamed man strike a chord.
I am tempted to believe that t
Karen Germain
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2008 Gaby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Blue Bedspread was recommended to me by a friend and I thought I'd give it a try. I have to say I was kind of disappointed when I finished it. The writing wasn't as good as I had expected it to be.

The story begins with a strange, late night phone call to an unnamed man, the protagonist. He is told that his long-lost sister is dead and he has to take care of her newborn baby for the night until she can be adopted the next day. As the baby sleeps, the man writes stories of his and her mother's
Ankush Samant
Mar 25, 2016 Ankush Samant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found 'The Blue Bedspread' covered in dust, lying in a nondescript corner of the renowned second hand bookstore - Blossoms in Bangalore. Interestingly, The Blue Bedspread is exactly like that blue bedspread that almost everyone has in their homes. If it's too perfect that it creates a sense of in-humanness. And if there are too many creases then it feels uncomfortable and uninviting.

The novel by Raj Kamal Jha fills up the scale between these two extremes. Sometimes you feel like praising the
Maughn Gregory
Oct 04, 2015 Maughn Gregory rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I rarely find such beautiful writing, and when I do it lifts me up, no matter how sad the story. I bought this book in 1999 when it was first published, but didn't get around till reading it until now. It sat in a rented storage room for 5 years. I'm so glad it followed me and waited for me to find it again.
Jul 05, 2014 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued with the details about life in India. Also, the book uses an interesting timeline in that the narrative takes place over just a few days, yet the main character is able to cover the lifetime of his family. It's a good book to analyze for the author's skill in moving forward and back.
keith koenigsberg
Mar 02, 2016 keith koenigsberg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Other reviewers seemed to think this was written beautifully, however I disagree. It is written in the blunt allegorical sentences familiar to lovers of The Alchemist by Coelho, and you can read below what I thought of that book (garbage). Referring to all characters as "the man" "the boy" "grandmother" etc does little for me and becomes tiring, pretentious and trite quickly. The setting in Calcutta is irrelevent, as the book is entirely an "indoor" tableau. There is no poetry in the language an ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Babs rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 3-star, read-2004
This is an interesting little book written by a man in possession of a baby (possession really is the best word for this relationship at the start). All we know is that the baby is to be given up the next day, and this man is writing a series of stories for the baby. As the story unfolds we learn more about the man's family and the city of Calcutta in which he lives.

This is a lovely, well written book, although I did feel that the book lost a little of its sparkle towards the end. Most of the st
Feb 09, 2012 Yogesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bit unorthodox way of telling a simple story but I love the way book carried in details till the end. Well done.
May 08, 2015 Carla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A man gets a call in the middle of the night in Calcutta from the police to say his sister is dead, and her orphaned newborn needs to be picked up before she's placed in foster care. He comes home and places the child on a faded blue bedspread, that was a family heirloom, sharing it with his sister when they were children. He writes stories during the night, to his niece, for her to one day understand her family history. This book put me to sleep almost every time I opened it. It's a short book, ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Olga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most beautiful books I've read
Feb 09, 2012 Karo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
The Blue Bedspread is a beautifully written book, calling to mind the exquisite prose of Arundhati Roy. It is, however, somewhat bizarre, and that's why I did not give it the full five stars. I'm not one who demands that everything be spelled out for me clearly when I'm reading, but there were times as I was reading The Blue Bedspread that I was just plain confused. I wouldn't have minded the confusion if the author had cleared it up later, but he never did.

But enough about that. The book is a f
Mar 21, 2015 Dennis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what this book was intended to be. It's only about 200 pages long and is more a collection of snapshots than a linear novel; really it felt more like a collection of sketches strung together on a thin thread. It was also obvious where this was going to end from around page 5 - certainly by page 50, when every possible bad thing from a dysfunctional family had been tossed into the mix - and it just became a matter of waiting for the author to get to the point and say it. By that poin ...more
Jun 07, 2013 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't thinks this book was anywhere near as bad as some of the reviewers made out. Yes it touches on some uncomfortable subjects, yes it skates a little over the surface of things, and to begin with I wasn't totally engaged with it. However, as the book went on I found myself more and more hooked into the story, or what you think is the story - for this is a multi-layered affair. The narrator is telling a series of stories and it is unclear which stories (if any) are real. I don't mean real a ...more
Sonia Gomes
Jul 03, 2011 Sonia Gomes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cannot think of anyone
Recommended to Sonia by: British Council Library !
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 11, 2013 Puja rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-novel
When I started reading this book, I was intrigued by its mystery and appreciated the writing style - a mix of poetry and prose. However, the theme was disturbing, the casual handling of the main premise made me uncomfortable, and the confusing story presentation added to my eagerness for the book to end which too was a let down. A sense of unfairness prevailed as the author left the story hanging. I'm not against unconventional themes or different styles of writing, am capable of appreciating sa ...more
Tämä kuuluu niihin kirjoihin, joista pidin ja en pitänyt. Tavallaan mielenkiintoinen ja kiehtova tarina, mutta osittain niin verhottu ja vaikeasti avautuva, että lukiessa piti pinnistellä pysyäkseen kirjan mukana. Varsinkin jossain keskivaiheilla tunsin tipahtaneeni kärryiltä. On ihan sattumaa, että luin parikin insestiteemaista kirjaa lähes peräkkäin, se ehkä oli liikaa.
Jun 04, 2015 Azliana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'We shall visit all these places, I shall hold your hand, open all those rooms that need to be opened, word by word, sentence by sentence. I will keep some rooms closed until we are more ready, open others just a chink so that you take a peek. And at times, without opening a door at all, we shall imagine what lies inside.'

I like the simple narrative and so far it is intriguing and well paced.
Isla McKetta
Sep 29, 2014 Isla McKetta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is really beautiful. I love the frame of bringing home the child and the fragmentary collection of stories. Many times I was lost, but never unhappily so. I kept looking for the return of blue and thinking about it must have meant. I don't think I'll read this book again, but I was glad to be inside of it for a few hours.
Feb 04, 2016 RM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
RKJ's writing floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee! One of the most beautiful prose I've read in a long time. The imagery is stunning and the story very riveting. Unfortunately, RKJ follows this same formula in his other follow-up novels. However, this book is worth the read.
Oct 03, 2013 Susanne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book falls into the category of "how to kill a potentially good story by trying too hard".

I couldn't tell you what the book is about even if I wanted to since it was almost impossible to follow the completely illogical and senseless sequence of events. The continuous change of narrator didn't make it easier and the redundant, adjective-packed and slow-paced language killed the book completely.

Most of the stories in the book seem not to have any, or very slight, relevance to the main plot a
Jan 11, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though the author receives acclaim for this book, the way it is written doesn't always let you know who the actors are in each scene. So, I found it a bit hard to follow. The ending packs a punch, though, and makes you rethink many of the scenes.
Apr 05, 2014 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nov-dec2009
this book was hard for me to follow. I still can't tell if each section (Father, Mother, Sister) is written from the narrator's POV or if the POV changes to whomever the chapter is about...

The way this book so casually mentions incest/rape (incestuous relationship with his sister, implied rape from his drunken father) is disturbing. I mean of course incest and rape are disturbing, but the casualness at which the author approaches it is disturbing.

The narrator mentions a story and comes back to
Jacquie Leighton
If Raj Kamal Jha intended to write in a style which suggested the reader experience a sense of mystery, it did NOT work. I read the book in a constant state of confusion!
Really enjoyed it,while I was reading it about 8 years ago. Haven't seen any other works by that author in the library, maybe I need to look harder.
A stream of consciousness novel about sexual and physical abuse. Probably not my cup of tea, but I finished it.
Oct 20, 2011 Gina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story and the themes of this book have potential to be really engaging. I like stories set in India and I like the idea of puzzle-pieces of information coming together to reveal the whole story slowly. The author didn't do this very well. It felt like he was practicing 5 techniques of creative writing illusion and ended up with a half-finished puzzle! At the end of the book, I was left without definitive answers to some of the books big questions...what happened to the narrator's mother exac ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 39 40 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Story-Wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers
  • Invisible Lives
  • The Immortals
  • The Alchemy of Desire
  • Haunting Bombay
  • Someone Else's Garden
  • The Romantics
  • Marrying Anita: A Quest for Love in the New India
  • Tamarind Woman
  • The City of Devi (The Hindu Gods, #3)
  • Bitter Sweets
  • The Crooked Line: Terhi Lakir
  • The Unicorn Expedition and Other Stories
  • Red Earth and Pouring Rain
  • Bombay Time
  • Darjeeling: A Novel
  • Song of the Cuckoo Bird
  • The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay
Raj Kamal Jha (Hindi: राज कमल झा; born 1966) is Chief Editor of the daily newspaper The Indian Express and an internationally acclaimed novelist. He lives in Gurgaon.

Jha was born in Bhagalpur, Bihar, and was raised in Calcutta, West Bengal, where he went to school at St. Joseph's College. He then attended the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, where he got his Bachelor of Technology with H
More about Raj Kamal Jha...

Share This Book