All the Lives We Never Lived Summary and Reviews

All the Lives We Never Lived

by Anuradha Roy

All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy X
All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2018
    288 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This mesmerizing exploration of the darker consequences of freedom, love, and loyalty is an astonishing display of Roy's literary prowess." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. 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." - Booklist

"This novel has an epic feel but also portrays the feelings of an abandoned child and captured woman while strongly evoking the sounds, scents, plants, people, and social structures of India at the time." - Library Journal

"Lyrical, subtle, [and] finely observant. .... A novel of history, both global and personal, gracefully wrought." - Kirkus

"Anuradha Roy blends historical fact and remarkable real-life characters into her tale, which takes freedom, in all its messy complexity, as its theme ... Amid the atmospheric detailing there are pin-sharp modern resonances with modern India's nationalism and punishing patriarchy." - The Times (UK)

"[Roy] is a writer of great subtlety and intelligence, who understands that emotional power comes from the steady accretion of detail…a beautifully written and compelling story of how families fall apart and of what remains in the aftermath." - The Guardian (UK)

"Roy's writing is a joy." - Financial Times (UK)

"Poetic, elegiac ... Roy's eye is tender. ... The scope of All the Lives We Never Lived is vast but also personal." - Irish Times

"What makes this novel so special is the sinuous way Anuradha Roy seamlessly and masterfully shuttles between time, overlaying the past with the present, mystery with knowledge to cumulatively create a brilliant tapestry that is the story." - Chigozie Obioma, Man Booker Prize finalist for The Fishermen

This information about All the Lives We Never Lived shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Anuradha Roy Author Biography

Photo: Rukun Advani

Anuradha Roy's novel Sleeping on Jupiter was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016 and won the D.S.C. prize for South Asian Literature. She won the Economist Crossword Prize, India's premier award for fiction, for her novel The Folded Earth, which was nominated for several other prizes including the Man Asia, the D.S.C., and the Hindu Literary Award. Her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, has been widely translated and was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and The Seattle Times. She works as a designer at Permanent Black, an independent press which she runs with her husband, Rukun Advani. She lives in Ranikhet, India.

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