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Clear Light of Day
by Anita Desai
ISBN 0140108599 / 9780140108590 / 0-14-010859-9
Publisher Penguin Books
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Clear Light of Day is an examination of contemporary India and a family history in which two sisters, Bim and Tara, learn that, although there will always be family scars, the ability to forgive and forget is a powerful ally against life's sorrows. Twenty years ago when Tara married, she left Old Delhi and a home full of sickness and death, while Bim continued to live in the family home taking care of their autistic brother, Baba. Now Tara has returned, her first visit in 10 years, for their niece's wedding. Bim refuses to attend; she can't visit their brother Raja who, like Tara, left her many years ago. Instead Bim dwells bitterly on her feelings of abandonment and the impact on her of her country's recent history: the violent conflict between Hindus and Muslims, the death of Gandhi and the ensuing struggle for political power and the malaria epidemic that killed so many. In Bim's presence, Tara once again feels "herself shrink into that small miserable wretch of 20 years ago, both admiring and resenting her tall striding sister", while "Bim was calmly unaware of any of her sister's agonies, past or present". With language that describes both the harshness and beauty of family and the land, Anita Desai takes the reader with Tara and Bim on their struggle to confront and heal old wounds. --Alex Freeman, Amazon.com [via]