Lead Review

  • Book: Jaipur Journals
  • Location: Jaipur
  • Author: Namita Gokhale

Review Author: Tina Hartas



I would love to go to the Jaipur Literature Festival and for the moment, reading this novel is the only way I will be able to ‘attend’. I have been to several literature festivals over the years but the pink city of Jaipur has to be one of the most iconic settings in the world.

At a literature festival, attendees dip in and out of the programme and authors appear on stage. These are like moments captured in time, an intense hour here and there, and then it’s time to move on to something different. The author has brought together a colourful smorgasbord of characters and she shares vignettes, which mirror the construct of a festival – it is a busy storyline, full of life, with characters coming in and out of sharp relief. We accompany 2 people on the quest to buy a sari, another person chooses the Ayurvedic experience, one person passes away. There are plenty of literature related experiences and it is a pleasure to mingle with authors and their agents and publishers. There is cacophony, too, discussion, poetry, Mickey Mouse and even Bollywood makes an appearance.

The narrative often circles back to Rudrani Rana, whom we first meet on a train heading to Jaipur. She carries her unsubmitted novel, carefully packaged, called Unsubmitted for now. Might she proffer it to someone in the industry whilst she is there and might she – just possibly – have a future as a published author? We accompany her to author readings and back to her hotel, share her aspirations (she wants to try artichoke and travel to Rome and beyond) and learn of her ‘naughty’ little habit; she is the little leitmotif around whom the swirling masses at the festival congregate.

There is a strong sense of being in India, less so perhaps of actually being in Jaipur.

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