Blog Tour: Jaipur Journals by Namita Gokhale
Publisher: Hope Road
Genre: Literary fiction
Buy link: Click here for publisher website
In Jaipur, at the famous Literature Festival, Rudrani Rana attends one session after another, clutching a canvas bag which contains the labour of her life - an unsubmitted manuscript written and re-written until only one sentence ‘My body is a haunted house’ remains untouched.
All around her are famous authors basking in adulation after years of creative isolation, and the star-struck public, thrilled at being allowed to mingle with their cultural icons. And then there are those in between who are both author and fan, like Rudrani herself.
Partly a love letter to the Jaipur Literature Festival, partly a satire about the glitterati who throng this major social landmark year in, year out, Jaipur Journals provides incisive insights into the dramas great and small, and mostly hidden, at the throbbing heart of the world-famous annual event.
This one was a little out of my comfort zone, in a refreshing and insightful way.
I have so far never been to a literary festival and that premise was what piqued my interest, as well as the chance to read more about such a vibrant culture. I was drawn into the first scene right away, following a nervous young girl, Anura, on the train as she moves closer to her first appearance at the festival. I warmed to Anura and enjoyed seeing Rudrani through her eyes as an introduction.
The narrative then moves away as the train arrives and for the rest of the novel, we connect with various attendees, catching a vivid and curious taster of how the festival unfolds.
There are a few intriguing characters to follow, including the main narrator with her hidden manuscript and interesting internal monologue.
I will say I would have liked to hear more from Anura’s perspective, but I found the multiple viewpoints leant an air of hustle and bustle and a varied dynamic to the novel, making you feel like you were there within the action.
This book was a bright, atmospheric read that seemed to place me right in the middle of the festival, a fly on the wall to soak up the evocative scene. Thanks so much to Hope Road for sending me a copy for review and to the wonderful Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.