Friday, August 19, 2016
Now, Here's A Read You'll Love, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like "The Sport Of Kings," which I posted on several weeks ago, "The Lives Of Others" is a work of epic scope, generational family angst, class consciousness, and political upheaval. It is set in India and Bengal, during the early to later parts of the twentieth century, and involves two families, one wealthy, the other poor. I was enraptured by its 500 plus pages, which I consumed ravenously.
It seems I read a lot of Indian literature. I mean, there was "A Suitable Boy," "A Fine Balance," (which this closely resembles) not to mention Amitav Ghosh's trilogy, beginning with "Sea Of Poppies," continuing with "River Of Smoke," and soon to be finished, once I read it, with "Flood Of Fire." And, yes, I could even mention "The Far Pavilions" by M.M. Kaye.
You would think, darlings, I choose these works specifically. More to the point, they choose me. What's distinctive about all of them--including Jhumpa Lahari, whose works I have also read--is their ability to explore, with such keen insight, the human condition, often better than their American or British contemporaries. So, I keep returning to them.
I had to wonder whether some of it is autobiographical, because one of the families is named Ghosh, and Amitav gets a thank you in the Acknowledgements. Mukherjee's structure is very similar to Tolstoy; just as Leo did not know how to end "Anna Karenina," so does this author not know how to end his work. The final suicide should have been the end, to frame the story between two suicides, as it opens with one. But the ending used makes a powerful political point, so I can carp, but I can't complain.
Neel Mukherjee is known for his debut novel, "A Life Apart." I was so impressed with his work here, I must read the earlier one.
But, settle in, girls, and let "The Lives Of Others" take you on an epic ride!!!!!!!!!!!