Sleeping on Jupiter

Sleeping on Jupiter
A Novel
Anuradha Roy

DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016
Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize 2015

“Concise [and] elegant. . . . The novel's examination of violence, sexism, and spirituality is powerful.”The New Yorker

About the Book

A Man Booker Prize long-listed novel about violence, love, and religion in modern India
On a train bound for the seaside town of Jarmuli, known for its temples, three elderly women meet a young documentary filmmaker named Nomi, whose braided hair, tattoos, and foreign air set her apart. At a brief stop en route, the women are unprepared to witness a sudden assault on Nomi that leaves her stranded as the train pulls away.
Later in Jarmuli, among pilgrims, priests, and ashrams, the women disembark only to find that Nomi has managed to arrive on her own. What is someone like her, clearly not a worshipper, doing in this remote place? Over the next five days, the women live out their long-planned dream of a holiday together; their temple guide pursues a forbidden love; and Nomi is joined by a photographer to scout locations for a documentary. As their lives overlap and collide, Nomi’s past comes into focus, and the serene surface of the town is punctured by violence and abuse as Jarmuli is revealed as a place with a long, dark history that transforms all who encounter it. A haunting, vibrant novel long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and short-listed for the Hindu Literary Prize, Sleeping on Jupiter is a brilliantly told story of contemporary India from an internationally acclaimed writer.

Additional Reviews

“The world [Roy] creates is ambitiously imagined, her characters possessed of an inner verity. They remind us how strongly our identities are forged by our experiences, how difficult it is to counter the gravitational pull of our own lives and escape to new realms.”The New York Times Book Review

“A documentary filmmaker returns to the Indiana temple town of her childhood in Anuradha Roy’s Booker-longlisted Sleeping on Jupiter, which searingly juxtaposes eroticized imagery, vulnerable little girls, and guru-worshipping tourism.”Vogue

“An unflinching novel from one of India's greatest living authors.”O, The Oprah Magazine

“Roy’s novel is unflinchingly violent, and incorporates themes of religion, art, and the kind of history that some would prefer to leave in the past.”Men’s Journal

“Roy writes beautifully. . . . Readers will be moved and changed by this evocative, subtle novel on modern India as it reaches its conclusions told with dark beauty and a dreamlike intensity.”Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“Stunning. . . . Roy’s poetic prose adds to her novel’s suspenseful atmosphere. . . . Ultimately hopeful despite the tragedies it depicts, Sleeping on Jupiter is a breathtaking read that will transport and haunt you.”Bust

“[Sleeping on Jupiter] addresses sexism and homophobia and masculine violence in a new way. . . . Jupiter is that rarest of novels: a fiction that serves as an agent of social change.”Seattle Weekly

“A magnificently crafted, luminous tale. . . . A striking quality of Roy's style is her ability to weave the beauty of a place, culture, and people through magnificent prose while drawing back the curtain to reveal the turbulence underneath. . . . With an unflinching eye, Roy crafts her story with elegance and dexterity. . . Sleeping on Jupiter is not just an important read, but an essential one.”Washington Independent Review of Books

“[Sleeping on Jupiter] delivers the shock value of Herman Koch's The Dinner. . . Rich imagery [and] solid storytelling successfully present the eye-opening realities of abuse and misogyny. . . .  Ultimately, there's much to ponder.”Library Journal

“Roy crafts a riveting tale of religion, family and violence that is nearly impossible to put down.”Michigan Daily

“The strength of this novel lies in the first-person narration of Nomi, who recounts her tale of loss and abuse in beautiful, unflinching language.”Kirkus Reviews

“With her mastery of atmosphere and setting, Roy illuminates pervading themes of misogyny, abuse, identity, and desire to luminous and provocative effect.” Booklist

“The overlapping stories make for a rich and absorbing consideration of where the past ends and the present begins.”Publishers Weekly

Sleeping On Jupiter depicts a complex world beneath the surface of a tourist-trap town. This is an India laid bare and un-romanticized. Roy’s characters are frustrated by poverty, inequality, and religious reverence. Their anger shakes the temple walls, only to be pacified occasionally by the silly songs of the seaside tea-stall owner. The destination for these characters is uncertain, but like the train that brought them, they travel on.”The Rumpus

“Following the intertwining lives of multiple characters in a Southern Indian tourist town made famous for its temples, Roy gracefully unfolds the protagonists’ dark, haunted backstories.”The Riveter

“There is beauty and light within Roy’s gorgeous prose.”BookRiot

Sleeping on Jupiter is a timely exploration of the recently exposed casual brutality that men practice against women in India. At the same time, this novel will far outlive its topicality because of its gossamer-like story that avoids the polemical, and its compassionate portrait of human error and frailty. The novel’s canvas feels epic because of Roy’s deft ability to say so much in quick vivid brushstrokes. Long after I had closed the book, its chords still rang in me.”— Shyam Selvadurai, author of The Hungry Ghosts