The Clear Light of Day
Set in India's Old Delhi, CLEAR LIGHT OF DAY is Anita Desai's tender, warm, and compassionate novel about family scars, the ability to forgive and forget, and the trials and tribulations of familial love. At the novel's heart are the moving relationships between the members of the Das family, who have grown apart from each other. Bimla is a dissatisfied but ambitious teach...more
I dare you to deploy words, sentences, phrases to probe the uncharted depths of my insight into the workings of the human psyche. I dare you to remain inoculated against the power of this terrible and ...more
I read this as part of the The Mookse and the Gripes project to revisit the 1980 Booker Prize Shortlist. It is the first book I read from the shortlist and I cannot compare it with the other selections.
I usually write a review right after I finish a book but this time I needed to wait for a while as I did not exactly know how I felt about this novel. While at the beginning I did not feel any connection with the writing it slowly grew on me and I ended up agreeing w ...more
A family is one's anchor; sometimes it also becomes the millstone around one's neck: filling the one who goes out & ahead in the world with chronic guilt and the one who is left behind with lasting resentment. Desai's small unit, torn apart, standing in for a nation partitioned & unable to come to terms with its loss. The emotional poignancy & an astute evocation ...more
In a way I found it kind of refreshing. Yes, it was about the Partition of India, but it was also about the partition of a family. It had a very Forest Gump feel to it. History happened, like the assassination of Gandhi, but it was me ...more
This novel about four siblings in pre- and post-partition India grew on me. The opening pages were so slow, so atmospheric, the setting of Old Delhi was hot and dusty....these are all qualities I often find intolerable. Desai is a quality writer. Objectively, this is a high quality novel. Family relationships are beautifully limned, atmospheres are so well described you feel like you are in the house or on the lawn with the Das siblings. Rarely have the gestures and expressions of cats and dogs ...more
Clear Light of Daypores over sibling rivalries and the often unspoken tensions in extended families.
Ultimately I felt that Anita Desai finished the book with a confused message. The central figure, Bimla, recalls TS Eliot:
"Time the destroyer is time the preserver". She does so, listening to a musical recital at a neighbour's centred around Mulk, a fi ...more