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Saturday, September 03, 2005

And Now, Time For Vikram Seth's New Book

In contrast to the high-decibel publicity surrounding Shalimar The Clown is the quiet arrival (so far, at least) of Vikram Seth's memoir-cum-biography, Two Lives. Anthony Beevor's just reviewed it for The Times, UK, and has some flattering things to say:

"Seth, with his beautifully simple prose, creates a truly unforgettable double portrait. He zooms in on tiny details, then broadens his focus to include Nazi Germany, India and Israel, with all the great events of the 20th century. It is also a meditation on love, courage and friendship, on betrayal through opportunism and moral cowardice, on identity, exile and alienation, on the dehumanisation of racism, and on those acts of spontaneous generosity which are all that is left to maintain faith in humanity....In recent years, there have been countless memoirs based on family papers, yet few are as moving and illuminating as Two Lives. At times, this rather long book can be heavy-going, but Seth has extracted from his material a wonderful richness of detail and considerable food for thought."

Sections of the above are going to appear as a blurb on the paperback edition, that's for sure.

Update: In the Sunday Times, Lucy Hughes Hallett tries to like the book, but winds up being baffled by Seth's genre-defying ways:
“Each of Seth’s books so far has been a surprise. Two Lives is yet another unexpected development in his dazzlingly polymathic career, but this time the surprise lies not in any new display of virtuosity but in the book’s plainness and its author’s self-effacement….Written as an act of love and duty, it is a testament to his modesty and familial affection, but it will perplex his literary admirers”

3 Comments:

  • Oh hooray! I was waiting for this. Any idea if it's in the bookshops yet?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:59 PM  

  • Well, the UK edition release date is September 12, so it ought to be here soon.

    By Blogger PrufrockTwo, at 3:40 PM  

  • Seth is wonderful.

    By Anonymous Anirudh, at 4:31 PM  

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