Are you ever without a book?
The simple, quick and easy answer to that is no. I always have my Kindle with me which stores a shit ton of books. Aside from that I quite often also pack physical books. Now, for example, I'm at the airport with my Kindle and an ARC of The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. I don't like not having books with me and even when I have my Kindle I like having an extra book just in case.
Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Gilion over at Rose City Reader and Freda at Freda's Voice respectively. This week I'm using a book which as been long listed for the 2015 Man Booker Prize, Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy.
A train stops at a railway station.A young woman jumps off. She has wild hair, sloppy clothes, a distracted air. She looks Indian, yet she is somehow not. The sudden violence of what happens next leaves the other passengers gasping.
The train terminates at Jarmuli, a temple town by the sea. Here, among pilgrims, priests and ashrams, three old women disembark only to encounter the girl once again. What is someone like her doing in this remote corner, which attracts only worshippers?
Over the next five days, the old women live out their long-planned dream of a holiday together; their temple guide finds ecstasy in forbidden love; and the girl is joined by a photographer battling his own demons.
The full force of the evil and violence beneath the serene surface of the town becomes evident when their lives overlap and collide. Unexpected connections are revealed between devotion and violence, friendship and fear, as Jarmuli is revealed as a place with a long, dark past that transforms all who encounter it.
This is a stark and unflinching novel by a spellbinding storyteller, about religion, love, and violence in the modern world.It sounds good, no? I'm only halfway through but I am really enjoying it.
'The year the war came closer I was six or seven and it did not matter to me. I lived with my brother, father and mother and out hut had two rooms with mats on the loot and a line of wooden pegs from which our clothes hung and in the evening we sat in the yard outside, watching out mother cook on the fire by the grapefruit tree. When the tree flowered I opened my mouth wide to swallow the scent.' p.9I love this beginning. Anuradha Roy really manages to show the narrator is a child at this point through her writing style. The continuing of the sentence through the repeat of 'and' is a very reminiscent of a child's speech but also gives a good impression of the main character's world.
'Suraj wondered again at the way she spoke, as if she had no sure identity. She looked Indian, even spoke a faltering Hindi, but sounded at times American, at times like a German friend he had, Matthias.' p.56This exploration of identity is really interesting, especially in a world as globalized as ours. The questions who we are and where we come from are, I believe, at the bottom of every good piece of literature.
That's me for today! What do you think of Sleeping on Jupiter? Is it your cup of tea? And are you ever without a book?