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Monday, January 04, 2016

Book Review : 'Sleeping on Jupiter' by Anuradha Roy

Here’s the book review of ‘Sleeping on Jupiter’ by author, Anuradha Roy. It is a story of many lives, this one is. Starting off with seven year old Nomi, who sees the murder of her father, followed by her brother’s disappearance and her mother leaving her; and this was just the beginning.

She ends up in an orphanage run by a well-known guru, where she is kept and sexually abused by the popular guru, before she is adopted. She moves to Norway, but she has all those very brutal memories of her days at the ashram.

Cut to the future, she is a 25-year old, filmmaker’s assistant with a trip on her mind. She plans to make a movie on Jarmuli. After traveling to many places, she finds herself on a train to the temple town. Three old women, Gouri, Latika and Vidya, are on their way from Kolkata to Jarmuli, with ideas on their minds.

The ladies meet with Nomi on the train and we are all set for an adventure, on the train, itself. As we try to keep pace with the old womens’ adventures, we soon find ourselves in the confines of Jarmuli.

Not only that, we also end up meeting Suraj, a photographer who is also meant to assist with the research of the film. We meet with Badal, a tour guide, who was originally meant to show them around town. The same sex love of Badal’s life, Raghu; the tea stall, and its owner, Johnny Toppo, all come in to play roles in the highs and lows of Nomi’s topsy turvy life.

Obviously, there is enough and more to read, between these lines. Firstly, you are struck by the sexual abuses meted out to Nori. There are lines aplenty to get you sad, but plenty more to get you angry.

Then, of course we have enough and more of the older women to get us all a little mad, with their judgments. You have the forgetful Gouri, who has a penchant for walking away and then looking for her friends, Latika, who is resourceful and Vidya, who’s the level-headed one. Between the three of them, they look around, all that Jarmuli has to offer, age notwithstanding. Their judgements are definitely worth a read, whether we can like and them or not, depend on ourselves.

Moving onto Badal and Suraj, we are struck between deciding whether we like them or not, because their characters have been written and stopped, all in the mess of the characters. The visit to the temple town puts things into perspective all over again. Do note the names of the characters.

The story belongs to Nori. Nori, who it begins with sadness and then moves on to anger. You want to understand the character that she is. You want to feel for her as innocence and violence is blended further, in this story. As you see and understand the pairings and the despairing, people meet and then, move on with ease. But Nori sticks on, much after the last page…

You can Buy the Book, right here...

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