Written in Jha's exquisitely crafted and beautiful, precise prose, If You Are Afraid of Heights offers the reader a glimpse into a looking-glass world where nothing is quite what it seems and yet everything is strangely familiar. A man and a woman meet in a midnight road accident and fall in love. A reporter arrives in a small town to uncover the story of a child's rape and murder. A young girl, shaken by a series of suicides in her neighbourhood, worries for her parents' safety. Three seemingly separate stories, and yet interwoven themes and recurring motifs suggest a connection between the strands: a crow flying overhead, a sky-scraper larger than any built before, a dog missing part of its tail, a news report . . .
In a novel that defies categorisation, Jha tackles issues of abuse, neglect, and the power of hope: If You Are Afraid of Heights is about the private journeys that people take in their minds; about imaginations fuelled by the images and narratives of a city. The result is a breathtaking odyssey that draws you deep into the uncharted zone between fantasy and reality, deep into the longings and secrets of human lives.
Raj Kamal Jha is a mechanical engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, and has a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He lives in New Delhi, where he is executive editor of the Indian Express.