If You Are Afraid of Heights by Raj Kamal Jha - review by Sebastian Shakespeare

Sebastian Shakespeare

As The Crow Flies

If You Are Afraid of Heights


Picador 294pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

RAJ KAMAL JHA's second novel is full of riddles. Is the unidentified man who flies over the city on the back of a crow the narrator, the reader or God? Or is he simply a busybody eavesdropping on people's lives? And, down at street level, nobody knows whether Amir, one of the protagonists, is married, or whether he has a child, because everyone lives cheek by jowl, too close to know who is related to who.

Raj Kamal Jha's acclaimed first novel, The Blue Bedspread, outsold both Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth in his native India. It was an impressive debut, despite what was, in my view, an utterly predictable denouement. More importantly, he established a highly individual style - the prose was lean and yet

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