Towards the beginning of Anuradha Roy’s new novel, Sleeping on Jupiter, three elderly women, travelling to the temple town of Jarmuli, realize that a young co-passenger has missed the train after having disembarked at a crowded station en route. Concerned, because Nomi had seemed to be in some danger when they had last sighted her, one of the ladies reaches for the emergency chain to stop the train. All she finds, however, is the chain hanging uselessly loose, ‘its spring broken’. What makes this seemingly trivial episode symptomatic of a major feature of Jupiter is that, in it, nothing —no course of action, no project, not even an individual’s experience of herself—is allowed to reach that point of completion that novels conventionally strive to impose on the chaos of life.
September 2015, volume 39, No 9