The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jha
Pages: 240 pages
The novel starts with an unnamed character receiving a call about the death of his sister. His sister has died leaving a child behind. The child is entrusted to him for a night before it is given away a family scheduled to adopt the child.
The man narrates a story to the child, about him and his sister. He reminisce the illegitimate intimacy he had with his sister on the blue bedspread, which also gets the title to the book. The story depicts the troubled childhood with an abusive father, a dead mother, a father who sexually abuses him and his sister.
There are points where the narration is overplayed and feels discrete to the main character (I confused the narrator). There are times when the setting seems surreal but it provides dreamlike drift to the moody yet lyrical narration.
Raj Kamal Jha does justice in artful depiction of not so usual subjects of incest and sexual abuse with a tone that could be termed disturbing. The descriptive narration also provides you with a window where you wonder whether to peep into reality or into fiction. The novel doesn’t starts or progresses on a timeline binding into a unified end but it swings back and forth in time, in unconnected parts giving you an indication of deliberate omission. The end is likely to leave you blank and unsated with a few questions still reappearing in your mind to be answered.
Level of Reading: Moderately Difficult