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Rebirth Rebirth is the only book on the Man Asian Literary Prize shortlist for which overseas rights are yet to be granted For that reason if you manage to track down this book outside India you’re a better literary detective than I All of which is a shame because reviews on the sub continent suggest it is a delicate deeply affecting novel deserving of wider readership Set in modern day Bangalore Kaberi is pregnant with a longed for child nobody else knows about neither her estranged unfaithful husband nor her parents or friends Rebirth takes the form of a monologue from mother to baby in which she expresses her doubts about her marriage and her life and ultimately seeks and finds some form of redemption In time it’s likely its shortlisting will open it up to a bigger readership From themillionscom

  • Paperback
  • 216 pages
  • Rebirth
  • Jahnavi Barua
  • English
  • 03 August 2015
  • 9780143414551

10 thoughts on “Rebirth

  1. says:

    ✴️Genre Domestic Fiction✴️Deals with marriage infidelity abandonment pregnancy☑️This book revolves around Kaveri who got married without knowing the man she is married to She has to move to Bangalore after her marriage which was far away from the place she grew upShe has to start her life all over again in a new place adapting to the circumstances without any complaints But in due course of time she has to deal with an unfaithful husband pangs of loneliness and loss of her childhood friend as well as the death of her fatherOnly after the death of her father she came to know the bitter truth from her mother why her father remained aloof which she will always hold a grudge about forever without which her troubled relationship with her father would have been settled much earlier when he was aliveThe story grips the reader in such a way through all kinds of emotions sadness uncertainties of life love betrayalRaw feelings regarding bandonment as well as coming to terms with emotions so deep have been portrayed wellThe story ends on such a good note that the reader will feel triumphant at the endfeeling life is worth all the pain if it is to end in such a way

  2. says:

    Today I want to highlight an author that I have not seen anybody talking about on any online platform and all I want to do is scream WHY? WHY? WHY? It aches my heart to realise that authors like Jahnavi Barua whose writing is so composed and poised remains mostly unexplored by the mass readers of our country and beyondI came across this book at my local bookstore and the cover sucked me in the moment I laid my eyes on itSet in the backdrop of Bengaluru and Assam Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua is a beautiful understated and poignant story of a lonely mother talking to her unborn child growing inside her womb This merely 200 pages novel evoked so many unspoken emotions within me that my heart was heavy with love and full of hope for that unborn child by the time I turned the last page I was left yearning for for I was so engrossed in the lives of Kaberi and her little ray of sunshine

  3. says:

    This book came to my notice when it was praised in the Literary Review section of The Hindu For the recommendation of some very lesser known books this has proved to be uite effective The story is of a woman from North east of India who lived all her life in the small city of Guwahati and suddenly has to experience of living with her husband in Bangalore Some details have been shared about her experiences of living in a small town which has remained disturbed for long but still exudes the warmth to its residents Barua has shared the pain and prowess shown by a woman in the most bizarre but utterly possible situations The inner conflicts and confusions ensued when the protagonist tried to grapple with the promises of motherhood and betrayal of her love has been shown meticulously This book should be read for the sheer fun of details of emotions and the discrepancies of life

  4. says:

    Jahnavi Barua's 'Rebirth' is such a delicate and under stated book that it is perhaps no surprise it should prove so elusive for sale its publisher Penguin India rather archly reminds us on its contents page in the Indian Subcontinent only; yet deserving to resonate with a much wider audienceHopefully the frustration of restricted rights is about to change Barua's debut novel set both in bustling modern Bangalore and the Assam region from which she hails has a real chance of carrying off the prestigious MAN Asian Literary Prize for which it has already been shortlistedIf such an accolade does hasten the arrival of 'Rebirth' on the global market then it will be confirmation of the adage that good things come to those who wait a fitting phrase also for a story of which patience proves one of its finest virtuesKaberi discovers she is pregnant shortly after her husband leaves her ostensibly because of her failure to bear him a child He is a selfish violent man who is nevertheless still capable of occasional moments of tenderness This erratic behaviour lies at the heart of Kaberi's dilemma at the start of the novel to tell him and surely hasten his return or risk an uncertain future alone 'Rebirth' is written as a monologue from Kaberi to her unborn child It may sound twee but it is in fact an ingenious example of the effectiveness of first person narration deeply touching but never sentimental; restrained but never frustrating; patient but always page turningThere are parallels here with another longlisted title Anuradha Roy's 'The Folded Earth' Like Roy Barua underpins her work with a rich evocation of her surroundings from the birdsong in the gardens of urban Bangalore to the slinking tigers and the irresistible and conveniently metaphorical Brahmaputra river flowing through the heart of her home regionLike Roy Barua has the ability to flirt with cliché to positive effect She defly avoids the obvious pitfalls this does not become a novel about keeping secrets nor is it a familiar tale of a downtrodden wife trapped in an arranged marriage there is in fact no suggestion that being arranged has contributed to its breakdown rather a chastening experience for illicit western eyes sometimes too uick to judge this aspect of some parts of Indian cultureIt is also emphatically unashamedly middle class Kaberi has a doting maid and meets her friends for coffee shop cappucinos while her husband when he is around heads out in a shirt and tie to provide for his wife and future child So what? Who says modern Indian literature at least that which has breached international boundaries must be the preserve of risen up lower castes or religious fundamentalists? This is a story of everyday Indians facing everyday Indian issues and is all the better for it The setting for the latter part of the book switches to Assam part of the lobster shaped appendage to India's far north east and the childhood and family home of both Kaberi and her husbandIt is a region scarred by political protests and insurgency memories which remain particularly raw for Kaberi whose inseparable childhood friend Joya was killed there by terrorists Home among family it is sometimes easy for her to feel alone than everThroughout Barua never loses her poise never succumbs to the temptation to lend unnecessary urgency or drama to her story There are no scenes of pot throwing outrage at Ron's infidelity; no attempt to use Kaberi's hormones as an excuse for erratic behaviour on the contrary they afford her a renewed feeling of tranuility and empowermentWhat Barua has achieved is something beautifully simple achingly real and which for all its lack of what you might call a conventional plot proves ferociously readableIt will leave you yearning for both of this book and its author Hopefully the publicity afforded by Barua's deserved shortlisting will belatedly give her the platform she deserves

  5. says:

    Let me introduce you to this wonderful writer which is recommended by an Assamese friend The story is about an Assamese lady based in Bangalore who has turmoiled marriage due to not having kids and when she finally conceived she talked to her unborn child to tell journey till his birth The writer described the events and places beautifully specially the mesmerizing view of BrahmaputraHere not to spoil the pleasure of reading this book by explaining in detail For me she is one of the best contemporary Indian writer alongwith Aanchal Malhotra

  6. says:

    I rate this like a 385 rounded up to a 4 I see that other people have noted that this book is only available in India; I went to Penguin India for my copy which was surprisingly cheap with very fast shipping On my blog entry for this book I appended a message to whoever gives a crap about availability of books nominated for international literary awards If you're interested go take a look Now on with the reviewRebirth is Jahnavi Barua's first novel although in 2008 she also authored a book of short stories entitled Next Door It is narrated by the main character Kaberi and the narrative is addressed to her unborn baby the type of thing I normally shy away from in my reading choices No wait I normally RUN from this type of thing However to be perfectly honest and much to my own surprise there are several features that elevate this novel from being just another book of women's fiction or chicklit It has a vividly evoked sense of place and time uality prose that does not fall prey to overdone cliches and the reader catches a glimpse into issues facing not only modern Indian women but a bit of India's ongoing regional political strife that affects people in all walks of life There is also a nice reflective symmetry at work that is well constructed the story takes place over the few months between Kaberi's discovery that she is pregnant and the first pangs of labor contractions and as Kaberi is patiently awaiting the baby's emergence she is also on a path toward her ownKaberi is married to Ranjit Ron and lives a very middle class existence in a nice flat in Bangalore She has been working on a children's book for about a year unbeknownst to her husband and the book is now ready for her to begin the editing process But despite her environment upscale life and her happiness about being pregnant things are not so great for Kaberi Ron is having an affair and living with another woman and has moved many of his things out of the flat Ron's behavior toward Kaberi fluctuates erratically; often when Ron wants something from Kaberi she usually acuiesces with little protest but he is not above using physical violence on her from time to time Kaberi hasn't mentioned the pregnancy to her husband; she wants him to return to her not because of the baby but because he still loves Kaberi Actually Kaberi hasn't mentioned the pregnancy or Ron's absence from their home to anyone; the one friend in whom she may have confided early on was killed in a bus explosion during an insurgency in Assam and Kaberi just lets on that Ron's company freuently sends him away on business When Ron comes to her to ask for a divorce he expects that she will give in to his reuest but Kaberi realizes that now she is in a position of strength one that is only bolstered by a trip home to Assam when an unforeseen event occurs Obviously there's a great deal to the story but to say any would be unfairYes yes yes I know it sounds like the standard women's fictionchicklit kind of story but there is an unusual amount of depth at work in this novel which lifts the premise of this story from what it could have been to something on a much higher plane The sense of place moves the reader from modern city where even in the midst of the city's hustle bustle an open verandah attached to a flat can be an isolating experience to muddy roads to the lush jungle near Bangalore and then to the scenic river views in Assam where people float on barges for parties each with its accompanying wonders and vivid colors in terms of flora and fauna Moving along the author never feels compelled to document incidents of domestic violence in graphic detail nor does her main character wring her hands bemoan her fate in a poor poor pitiful me kind of way take revenge or take a lover to spite her unfaithful husband The spotlight is always on Kaberi her sense of isolation and the slow realization of her empowerment that comes about as a result of her inner strength and the prose moves steadily and is if anything uietly understated Finally the author manages to weave in some of the political and social issues of the agitation in Assam where people took to the streets to make their voices and agendas heard only to be betrayed in the long runRebirth is a very fast read but a good one and if this is Jahnavi Barua's very first novel then she's off to a running start in her writing career I did get a bit tired of reading through longish descriptions of different outfits the women wore in this book and the colors and styles various people used in decorating their homes it was just too extraneous for me to really care about and added little to the overall story But really if that's the worst I have to say about this book then that's a good thing I'll look forward to from this author in the future

  7. says:

    Jahnavi Barua yo are a genius What a wonderful read Recommended for all the literary lovers

  8. says:

    r e v i e w •Shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and Commonwealth Book Prize Rebirth is a hauntingly beautiful novel by Jahnavi Barua This book came to my attention when I read Divya's divyashankar553 review of Rebirth few weeks ago and seconds later I decided that I had to read it There are certain books that flourish from the very first line giving the readers a hint about what's to come next And then there are other books that start seemingly normal but elevate themselves as they reach the end Rebirth falls under the second category and I was left with a sense of calmness after finishing it•The storyline is very simple; that of a mother talking to her unborn child growing inside her womb But what makes this book lovely is the ease with which Jahnavi weaves sentences Kaberi lives in Bengaluru with her husband Ranjit in a uiet locality tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city Hailing from Assam she often dreams of the green lands of Guwahati as she slips into reminiscing her childhood that she spent with her best friend Joya Kaberi's was an arranged marriage and there was little love between the two to begin with After trying for years to become pregnant their relationship sees a deeper crack when Ranjit starts seeing another woman To her pleasant surprise Kaberi is finally able to conceive and she finds herself strong enough to withstand the separation•There's no doubt that the protagonist carries an underlying sense of strength from the very beginning which she realises only as the days progress She tells her child about her family both before and after she got married and peppers the story with references to the Assam Agitation that ultimately took her friend's life Being married to a man who was indifferent to her abandoning her and only choosing to come back because of her pregnancy Kaberi highlights this all with a calm yet fervour filled voice She draws strength from her womb and in ways than one she considers the opportunity of being reborn through her baby•What I loved about this novel was the narration Not only was it poignant but was also compassionate There were other relationships that supported this storyline be it friendships family or just rekindled acuaintances I enjoyed witnessing female friendships that were utterly unconditional all the time acting as a soft cushion to protect Kaberi I could hear the grass rustling river gushing and Golapi Bai's fingers massaging my scalp in the same manner that Kaberi experienced I believe that even the simplest of stories can do wonders to the readers if narrated in a wonderful way and this is what Rebirth is all about A story of betrayal love friendships and above all self worth; I enjoyed every word that this book had to offer Contrary to popular opinion I found the ending brilliant Makes one think about this book hours after finishing it I recommend this book•Rating 435

  9. says:

    This gem of a book is the author's debut novel and only sad that I didn't pick it up sooner minor spoilersThe story of an expectant mother Kaberi who converses with her unborn child about her childhood her best friend back in Assam her marriage to the most annoyingly unfaithful man and how she's looking forward to this child being born How her whole life is coming down to this one beautiful moment and she has a lot of hopes for herself and her child The story moves back and forth between Assam and Bangalore The air of melancholy in Kaberi's house is so well described and put that I could sense it The emotions of an expectant mother in turmoil is heartbreaking at points but she oscillates between moments of hope and despair You see how she carves her way out for a better tomorrow as she shuts the door and goes towards the hospital for her own deliveryIt is a book worth going back to on a day where you'd definitely want to find the light at the end of your despair tunnel I absolutely love Jahnavi Barua's writing and look forward to books from her in the future

  10. says:

    The title Rebirth might give you a sense of its subject matter – but then again it mightn’t The novel – novella really – is a first person monologue by a mother to her unborn child The child is waiting to be born – not reborn – but there is a sense that for the mother Kaberi a rebirth might be in the offing as she explores the state of her shaky arranged marriage and of some tricky or unresolved relationships with family and friendsWhile set in India – in Bangalore and Guwahati in the troubled province of Assam – this novel does not have the noise and energy that often accompanies stories from the subcontinent It’s uiet and contemplative Moreover while it is imbued with gorgeous descriptions of the plants and landscapes of India and while it refers to the ongoing political unrest in Assam it is not specifically Indian in theme Its story is universal that of the desire for love between husband and wife and of the love of a mother for her child For my full review please see my blog

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