Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Blue Bedspread - Raj Kamal Jha

This is not a run of the mill book with a linear narration. This is a book that plays with the structure of the story. The last time that i read such a confusing novel was when i read "Time of the hero" by mario vargas llosa, But atleast i got a sense of completeness with time of the hero.This one eventhough it had a nice ending, it left with a sense of incompleteness.This is a far more confusing and unstructured book than time of the hero.

The story takes place in one night. The narrator narrates his life as stories to a new born baby over a night. The new born is his sisters daughter, who dies during the pregnancy. The police say that they are going to handover the child to a couple who want to adopt her and he can have the child for that night. Does he hand over his sisters child to strangers?. Well that is the basic story.

The book is not about the story, it is about how it is narrated. As i said before this is not a linearly narrated book. It is more like a scramble with information scattered everywhere. you are supposed to assemble it and make sense out of it. Adding to the confusion is the time discontinuity and change of narrators. Above all you know the name of only one character; all the other characters are unnamed in the story. A paragraph that you read somewhere at the start will start making sense to you at the middle of the book, when u read another paragraph which has a hook to that old one.

Raj kamal jha(Yet another bengali author) has narrated the story in a very different manner,he gets lyrical at times, sometimes surrealistic and ends the novel cleverly. But to get to the end you have to travel through a maze and it gets frustrating at times.If you decide to skip a few paragraphs or read fast not concentrating on the details, you will miss the threads that connect the different paragraphs and will be at a loss later. You have to read the book twice anyways to understand it properly.It is a small book and can be finished in a few hours.

Little confusing but an intresting book.

It is an interesting book for people who love the authors who play with the structure of the story, not for the ones who are looking for a regular linear style book with light story.

Raj Kamal interview in outlook

I really found this book very boring. There was nothing spl and some disconnected some TV reporter..looking at something in Africa (i read this book a year ago, dont remember exactly) u said, it was very frustrating and all i wanted to know what how it ended. While I appreciate abstractness ...and the mystry in novels this book didnt offer anything like that
I removed that one line from ur comment.I dont want to giveaway the climax.Iam not sure how many people are going to read the book after reading this review.But even if say 2 people do.i want them to read it with that suspense, which is the only thing that holds the book.

Yes it is frustrating and confusing.But i liked the idea, i liked the fact that indian authors are trying to play witht eh structure, most of them write stories , just straight stories.This is a book that has too much packed into one book from the subject that it deals with, the way it is narrated and the style.
Raj Kamal Jha is not a Bengali... He comes from Bihar and speaks Bengali as another language
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