From the Man Booker Prize-nominated author of Sleeping on Jupiter , The Folded Earth , and An Atlas of Impossible Longing , a poignant and sweeping novel set in India during World War II and the present-day about a son's quest to uncover the truth about his mother.
In my childhood, I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman. The man was in fact German, but in small‑town India in those days, all white foreigners were largely thought of as British.
So begins the story of Myshkin and his mother, Gayatri, a rebellious, alluring artist who abandons parenthood and marriage to follow her primal desire for freedom.
Though freedom may be stirring in the air of India, across the world the Nazis have risen to power in Germany. At this point of crisis, a German artist from Gayatri's past seeks her out. His arrival ignites passions she has long been forced to suppress.
What follows is her life as pieced together by her son, a journey that takes him through India and Dutch‑held Bali. Excavating the roots of the world in which he was abandoned, he comes to understand his long‑lost mother, and the connections between strife at home and a war‑torn universe overtaken by patriotism.
With her signature "precise and poetic" ( The Independent ) writing, Anuradha Roy's All the Lives We Never Lived is a spellbinding and emotionally powerful saga about family, identity, and love.
"*Starred Review* Gayatri Rozario is proof that we are the product of our circumstances. In 1930s India, she was forced into marriage because her family saw that as the only respectable choice for her. Unfortunately, matrimony stifled the young artist's creative impulses. Up until then, Gayatri's father had indulged her desire for education and shown her a glimpse of the wider world when he brought her on a tour of Bali. But Gayatri bottles up her potential after marrying until a visitor from the past, a German man, opens new possibilities for escape. It is no secret that Gayatri eventually breaks her vows and follows her calling. What is less clear is the lasting impact her leaving has on her young son, Myshkin, who, as an old man, narrates much of this moving tale, which also outlines the unexpected effects of WWII. If at times Myshkin indulges in a little too much navel-gazing, he can be forgiven. After all, as he explains, As a child abandoned without explanation, I had felt nothing but rage, misery, confusion. Roy (Sleeping on Jupiter, 2016) peppers her novel with intricate descriptions of small-town India and weaves an eloquent and tragic story of straitjacketed lives upended when history and personal ambition intersect.--Poornima Apte Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"The latest novel from Roy (Sleeping on Jupiter) is a lush and lyrical fusion of history and storytelling. Set in the late 1930s and early 1940s in the fictional Indian small town of Muntazir-amid India's fight for independence from Britain and the breakout of WWII-legendary singer Begum Akhtar, dancer and critic Beryl de Zoete, and German painter Walter Spies all figure prominently in the tale of nine-year-old Myshkin, who's abandoned by his free-spirited mother, Gayatri, and then largely ignored by his college professor and political activist father, Nek. When Myshkin, in his 60s after a career as a horticulturist, gets a package of letters his mother wrote during her self-imposed exile in Bali, it sets off his narration of Gayatri's rebellious youth, her oppressive marriage to the strident and rules-bound Nek, her decision to leave "that monsoon day in 1937" with Spies and de Zoete-and Myshkin's lifelong struggle to understand his mother's radical choice. Myshkin believes Akhtar, whom his mother tends to when the star falls into one of her "spells of grief and suspicion," may have inspired his mother's own decision to run away and find "a different life." "My mother knew when she left that she had poured petrol and set a match to every bridge between herself and her family," Myshkin recalls. "After such desertion, what forgiveness?" This mesmerizing exploration of the darker consequences of freedom, love, and loyalty is an astonishing display of Roy's literary prowess. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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