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May 29, 2001 - Image 13

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-05-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Cuddle up to Jha'sF
Blue Bedspread'


Tuesday, May 29, 2001- The MichiganDaily- 13
Hip-Hop acts hit
Detroit music festival

y Usa Rait
wily Arts Editor
The blue bedspread that inspired this
el's title may not be one you want to
die up with on a cold, lonely winter's
The bedspread symbolizes many
things to this
MOWnovel's nameless
t narrator: Comfort,
security and love,
The Blue to name a few.
Bedspread This bedspread is
Raj Kamal Jha the fiber that
Raj d:a Bha holds him togeth-
er, bonding him to
Harcourt Books his recently mur-
dered sister. Yet
the bedspread also
contains within its
worn-out folds
deep, dark family
secrets ... the
ind that can unravel even the strongest
inily ties.
Penned by literary newcomer Raj
*nal Jha, The Blue Bedspread is writ-
n with the intent of swaddling a new-
orn orphan, the narrator's niece, in the
:ories of her ancestors.
With frightening honesty, Jha slowly
nwraps the lives of two siblings for a

purpose that is intriguing in its senti-
mentality and commendable in its sin-
By recording his stories for the baby
on the night before her placement with
foster parents, the narrator hopes to pro-
vide his newest relative with a frame-
work for her identity as an adult. She
will know where she comes from, who
her mother was, what her grandparents
and uncle were like. She will receive a
snapshot of her mother as a little girl,
and she will come to understand the
importance of the bedspread that she
will never recollect lying upon. The
novel is essentially a baby book or
photo album in prose form.
The events of this single night in Cal-
cutta, India, and the stories being
recounted for posterity, are told seam-
lessly. Jha does a great job of making
the book flow, though it is sometimes
too difficult to discern where the bor-
ders are; what is real and what is imag-
ined in this book is as fuzzy as the
texture and form of the old bedspread
itself. We are never sure if the narrator's
memory is correct, or if the events are
hallucinations borne of childhood fanta-
The stories are unflinching and
unapologetic in their recounting of
details, real or imagined. Alcoholism,

regular beatings and incest, the stuff of
television talk shows, are all part of
daily life for the narrator's family while
growing up in Calcutta.
One slight flaw of this novel is Jha's
excessive comma use, although itis
possible that this technique served a
larger purpose in the narrative: The
commas loosely string ideas together,
symbolizing the tenuous hold the narra-
tor has on reality.
The prose of the book is disquieting
in its restraint, which serves in stark
contrast to the highly emotional issues
the novel deals with. Jha is often com-
pared to such realist American authors
as Don DeLillo and Raymond Carver,
and opposes the current trend of vivid,
luxurious writing exemplified by mod-
ern Indian novelists such as Arundhati
Roy and Salman Rushdie.

By W. Jacarl Melton
Daily Arts Writer
The skies were gray. It was driz-
zling and cold. Mother Nature played
a cruel trick on Sunday, not to mention
the whole week previously. Despite
these dismal con-
ditions, a crowd
estimated at or
above 800,000
Detroit braved the ele-
Electronic ments to take,
Music part in day two of
Festival the Ford Focus
Hart Plaza Detroit Electron-
May 27, 2001 ic Music Festival.
Sunday's lineup
featured deejays
like Mixmaster
Mike and Alton
Miller. However,
hip-hop also
shared billing in the form of De La
Soul and Binary Star,
Appearing on the festival's main
stage, De La attracted an immense
audience. In signature fashion, De La
went into "Buddy," a song bringing
older fans back to the days of the
Native Tongue family, the D.A.IS.Y.
Age and 3 Feet High and Rising. After
some banter and the usual competition

to see what side of the audience could
make more noise, Pos made the decla-
ration, after pointing to a U. S. flag
over the stage, that everyone in the
audience didn't represent a country
but a vibe.
The remainder of De La Soul's one-
hour set touched on the five albums
and 12 years of music they've con-
ceived. Judging from audience reac-
tions, De La Soul did not disappoint.
On the Motor/Miller Genuine Draft
Stage, one of Michigan's most popular
underground hip-hop acts, Binary
Star, rocked the mic with their Subter-
raneous crew. The highlight was
"KGB," a crew track with no hooks
and straight lyrics from six emcees.
The DEMF proved to be a worth-
while event by giving fans of artists
like De La Soul a chance to see the
group for free. From another angle,
lesser known groups like Binary Star
got a chance to showcase their talents
to an audience they may otherwise not
be able to reach. Additionally, seeing
masses of people enjoying themselves
and music is cool. It represents the
vibe Pos espoused. Given the politics,
controversy and threats that this will
be the last DEMF, hopefully the
importance of this mellow vibe will
win out.

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