The Lives of Others, Paperback Book
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize; and shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award.

It was the winner of the Encore Award. It is longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

It is longlisted for the Impac Prize. 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 a note.

At home, his family slowly begins to unravel. Poisonous rivalries grow, the once-thriving family business implodes and destructive secrets are unearthed. And all around them the sands are shifting as society fractures, for this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change. "Deeply moving." (Amitav Ghosh). "Terrifies and delights." (A S Byatt, Guardian). "Unforgettable." (Daily Telegraph).


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This is an impressively realised and ambitious novel on the social history of Bengal, contrasting the experiences of a decadent upper-middle class family struggling to maintain their opulent lifestyle despite a failing business, and those of their grandson, who leaves home in the late '60s for a life as a Maoist revolutionary mobilising poor and exploited rural peasants. <br/>The narrative covers many different aspects of society and is full of colourful details. The main focus is on the corruption which keeps the vested interests in place and the powerlessness of the disenfranchised. It is also strong on family dynamics and has a rather odd subplot about a child who is a natural genius in pure mathematics. <br/>A very moving book - highly recommended.

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