Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua
Jahnavi Barua is a Bangalore based writer this is here second book ,the first being a collection of short stories .She has had many short stories published in collections and anthologies .she grew up in Assam the setting for the novel ,is a doctor .Rebirth is on the man Asian long list and is another of the my shadow man Asian reads.As part of the shadow man judges .
“Maybe you can write about Kabini ,no ?” Preeta waves towards the river “why not ? ” indeed ,why not.
“What about Ron ? ”
I am angry suddenly .”What about him ?”
“what is going to happen ? you may need to actually earn a living ”
A conversation between friends about a childhood incident
Rebirth follows Kaberi ,she is newly married and now with child .Her marriage to Ron is on unsteady ground over the course of the book we find Kaberi talking to her unborn child about her marriage but also what sort of father Ron would make .It’s fair to say Kaberi has fairly rose-coloured glasses in regards her husband,one main things about this book is it is modern India we talk about she her friends Tarun and Preetha at coffee shops ,they wear and talk about sports wear .Her friends and family also see here husbands faults more than she does .Also she is going for doctors check ups ,we see Ron grow into an awful husband over time we spend with him in the book . We see her childhood as well as a prelude in some ways to how she end up where she did .For me this a novel of self rhetoric as Kaberi talks her self round to the fact that her husband isn’t the dream man she had wanted ,she even says this and the fact that she idolized him slightly only made things worse .So the title has a duel mean both the birth of the new-born baby but of a Kaberi as well .I also got a real sense of place this the north-east part of India which the writer is from which gives real credence to the settings as it is the places she grew up in and obviously knows well .Even thou this is an arranged marriage and set in india I feel the main themes of this book are universal worry of marriage ,idealizing one’s partner and having a baby are the same all over the world .I did say on twitter the other day and Lisa picked up on this that I felt on one level this is a book females would feel more empathic for than men .I m struck by what Harold Bloom said
” love tempered by ambivalence ” is a fitting four word quote for this book .
Many thanks to Penguin India that sent a copy to me for the shadow man .
Here is fays review