The Lives of Others: Book by Neel Mukherjee

The Lives of Others

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ISBN: 9780099554486    Publisher: Vintage Year of publishing: 2015     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 416        
This is longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014. 'Ma, I feel exhausted with consuming, with taking and grabbing and using. I am so bloated that I feel I cannot breathe any more. I am leaving to find some...Read more
This is longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014. 'Ma, I feel exhausted with consuming, with taking and grabbing and using. I am so bloated that I feel I cannot breathe any more. I am leaving to find some air, some place where I shall be able to purge myself, push back against the life given me and make my own. I feel I live in a borrowed house. It's time to find my own...Forgive me...' Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note...The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unravelling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider.
Ambitious, rich and compassionate The Lives of Others anatomises the soul of a nation as it unfolds a family history. A novel about many things, including the limits of empathy and the nature of political action, it asks: how do we imagine our place amongst others in the world? Can that be reimagined? And at what cost? This is a novel of unflinching power and emotional force.
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About the author: Neel Mukherjee
Neel Mukherjee was born in Calcutta. His first novel, A Life Apart (2010), won the Vodafone-Crossword Award in India, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain... Read more
Neel Mukherjee was born in Calcutta. His first novel, A Life Apart (2010), won the Vodafone-Crossword Award in India, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for best fiction, and was shortlisted for the inaugural DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. This is his second novel. He lives in London.
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Review:
Masterful ... His fierce intelligence and sophisticated storytelling combine to produce an unforgettable portrait of one family riven by the forces of history and their own desires." -- Patrick...Read more
Masterful ... His fierce intelligence and sophisticated storytelling combine to produce an unforgettable portrait of one family riven by the forces of history and their own desires." -- Patrick Flanery Daily Telegraph "Rich and engrossing ... Consistently vivid and well realised, it confidently covers a great deal of varied social terrain. ... Unfailingly interesting" -- Theo Tait Sunday Times "Very ambitious and very successful. ... One of Mukherjee's great gifts is precisely his capacity to imagine the lives of others. ... Neel Mukherjee terrifies and delights us simultaneously" -- A S Byatt Guardian "Deeply affecting and ambitious ... In startling imagery that sears itself into the mind, The Lives of Others excellently exposes the gulf between rich and poor, young and old, tradition and modernity, us and them, showing how acts of empathy are urgently needed to bridge the divides." -- Anita Sethi Observer "Neel Mukherjee has written an outstanding novel: compelling, compassionate and complex, vivid, musical and fierce." Rose Tremain "Full of acute, often uncomfortable and angry, observations, The Lives of Others is a picture of a family in all its disunity, and beyond it a city and country, on the brink of disaster." The Times "A Seth-ian narrative feast with dishes to spare ... a graphic reminder that the bourgeois Indian culture western readers so readily idealize is sustained at terrible human cost" -- Patrick Gale Independent "Expansive and often brilliant... Mukherjee spares the reader nothing...yet his command of storytelling is so astounding, he draws the reader into places they would prefer not to look" -- Claire Allfree Metro "The writing is unfailingly beautiful ... Resembles a tone poem in its dazzling orchestration of the crescendo of domestic racket. His eye is as acute as his ear: the physicality of people and objects is delineated with a hyper-aesthetic vividness ..." -- Jane Shilling New Statesman "Neel Mukherjee has given us a picture of India that cuts through history, social classes and regions but centers on a nouveau pauvre family. Every scene is rendered with a Tolstoyan clarity and compassion." Edmund White "A devastating portrayal of a decadent society and the inevitably violent uprising against it, in the tradition of such politically charged Indian literature as the work of Prem Chand, Manto and Mulk Raj Anand. It is ferocious, unsparing and brutally honest." Anita Desai "Brilliant" -- Alexander Gilmour FT "Powerful... Mukherjee's depiction of the tangled system...that develops when so many members of a family live under one roof is superb... In clear yet lyrical prose, Mukherjee carefully explores not just what it means to be part of a family, but what it means to be part of an unequal society... It's impossible not to be utterly engaged by this intelligent and moving epic" -- Anna Carey Sunday Business Post "Compelling, affecting, intelligent and surprising... Bold and striking... Worked out with precision and gracefulness... Ambitious and eloquent, and in forgoing exoticism captures genuine humanity" -- Stuart Kelly Scotland on Sunday "The Lives of Others is searing, savage and deeply moving: an unforgettably vivid picture of a time of turmoil." Amitav Ghosh (www.amitavghosh.com/blog)
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