All the lives we never lived
An artist's escape from a stultifying marriage is set against India's fight for independence and a world war, in a sweeping new novel by the Man Booker longlisted author of Sleeping on Jupiter War, nationalism, and trees shape lives in unforeseeable ways in this novel about a family and a country … LES MER struggling with enormous transformations. "In my childhood, I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman" - so begins the story of Myshkin and his mother, Gayatri, who is driven to rebel against tradition and follow her artist's instinct for freedom. Freedom of a different kind is in the air across India. The fight against British rule is reaching a critical turn. The Nazis have come to power in Germany. At this point of crisis, two strangers arrive in Gayatri's town, opening up for her the vision of other possible lives. What took Myshkin's mother from India to Dutch-held Bali in the 1930s, ripping a knife through his comfortingly familiar environment? Excavating the roots of the world in which he was abandoned, Myshkin comes to understand the connections between anguish at home and a war-torn universe overtaken by patriotism. Anuradha Roy's moving novel is a powerful parable for our times, telling the story of men and women trapped in a dangerous era uncannily similar to the present. Impassioned, elegiac, and gripping, it brims with the same genius that has brought Roy's earlier fiction international renown. LES MINDRE
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