Author(s): Anuradha Roy
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2015 AND WINNER OF THE 2016 DSC PRIZE FOR SOUTH ASIAN LITERATURE A stark and unflinching novel by a spellbinding storyteller, about religion, love and violence in the modern world. 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.
Winner of DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016.
The themes of innocence stolen, the refuge of the imagination, and the inclination to look away are handled with sensitivity and subtlety in some of the best prose of recent years encountered by this reader. Roy brings a painterly eye, her choice of detail bringing scenes to sensual life, while eschewing floridness: a masterclass rather in the art of restraint, the pared-back style enabling violence close to the surface to glint of its own accord ... An important contribution to an essential debate, Anuradha Roy's poetic work of luminous prose deserves a wide readership in India and beyond. -- Rebecca K Morrison Independent. Roy has used the most potent weapon in a writer's arsenal - the form of the novel, with its ability to simultaneously be universal and particular - to boldly unmask the hidden face of Indian spirituality and the rampant sexual abuse in its unholy confines. -- Meena Kandasamy Guardian. There's been a recent call to action against sexual assault in India as rape cases have begun to make international headlines rather than just being accepted as part of everyday female experience in the country. In focusing on this perpetration of violence against women and children, Roy's book is both incredibly timely and extremely brave. -- Lucy Scholes The National. Restrained and devastating Sleeping on Jupiter... balances formal neatness with raw political invective about the treatment of women in India -- Tim Martin Daily Telegraph (Roy) holds her story in a fine balance, scrupulously turning from one perspective to another in order to show the often yawning gap between how we imagine ourselves and how others see us... she writes in a lucid, realist manner, contrasting her restraint with the violence of her subject (the colour red is everywhere, page after page has images of blood). But this not a conventional novel, because it is to freighted with ambiguity and impotence. -- Kate Webb Times Literary Supplement Unshowy perceptiveness with which it addresses big themes such as religious hypocrisy and violence towards women in Indian society -- Claire Armitstead Guardian A rich, immersive novel about a group of people colonised by their pasts...[the] precise evocation of a sense of place, matched by an equally precise portrayal of interior states, all in unhurried, unshowy prose, makes Sleeping on Jupiter both accomplished and affecting -- Sanjay Sipahimalani Indian Express Anuradha Roy's brilliant new novel, Sleeping on Jupiter, is a riveting and poignant read...There's a whole tapestry out there: lost innocence, displacement, violence, friendship, survival, unconventional love, rejection, and pain...all penned with excellent craft. The opening chapters are violent but etched in delicate, detached prose -- Suneetha Balakrishnana The Hindu It has the rare quality that makes your heart race. You're no longer a mere spectator, you're part of the very narrative - because what possible explanation can there be for just how desperately you begin looking for closure -- Saudamini Jain Hindustan Times A heart wrenching, yet beautiful portrait of resilience and feistiness of women in India...a haunting book of prose that is almost poetry -- Sarju Kaul The Asian Age Sexual abuse is a difficult subject to write about but Roy avoids titillation by relating the incidents in the simplistic language of an innocent child, and in the first person, which reinforces the horror of what is happening... While Sleeping On Jupiter is ostensibly a novel about India and its particular relation to this particular problem, its implications reach far wider. -- Jane Wallace Asian Review of Books
Anuradha Roy won the Economist Crossword Prize, India's premier award for fiction, for her novel The Folded Earth, which was nominated for several other prizes including the Man Asia, the D.S.C., and the Hindu Literary Award. Her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, has been widely translated and was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and The Seattle Times.