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Two Lives by Vikram Seth
  

Two Lives

Biography / Autobiography   
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A memoir that interweaves his early life with that of his great uncle, who was Indian, and his great aunt, a German Jew. It explores a world splintered by the tragedies and triumphs of the 20th century concentrating largely on his aunt’s family and friends left behind in Germany once she had escaped in 1938. It’s a worthy, detailed and very personal story.

If you like Vikram Seth you might also like to read books by Amitav Ghosh, Rumer Godden and Kader Abdolah.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Synopsis

Two Lives by Vikram Seth

TWO LIVES tells the remarkable story of Seth's great uncle and aunt. His great uncle Shanti left India for medical school in Berlin in the 1930s and lodged with a German Jewish family. In the household was a daughter, Henny, who urged her mother 'not to take the blackie'. But a friendship developed and each managed to leave Germany and found their way to Britain as the Nazis rose to power. Shanti joined the army and lost his right arm at the battle of Monte Cassino, while Henny (whose family were to die in the camps) made a life for herself in her adopted country. After the war they married and lived the émigré life in north London where Shanti, despite the loss of his arm, became a much-loved dentist. During his own adolescence in England, Vikram Seth lived with Shanti and Henny and came to know and love them deeply. His is the third life in this story of TWO LIVES. This is also a book about history, encompassing as it does many of the most significant themes and events in the 20th century, whose currents are reflected in the lives of Shanti, Henny and their family: from the Raj and the Indian freedom movement to the Third Reich, the Holocaust and British postwar society.

Reviews

Seth is a thorough biographer, but his considerable narrative skill is as evident here as it is in his fiction... One of the beauties of TWO LIVES is that it transcends its subject matter, becoming a celebration of endurance, a recognition of all lives pun * SUNDAY BUSINESS POST * A fascinating and honest read. * TRIBUNE * Written as an act of love and duty it is a testament to his modesty and familial affection. * SUNDAT TIMES * This is an accomplished and profoundly moving work * DAILY TELEGRAPH *


About the Author

Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth was born in India. He was educated there and in England, China and the USA. He has written great books in every genre: verse novel (THE GOLDEN GATE); travel book (FROM HEAVEN LAKE winner Thomas Cook Travel Book Award); epic masterpiece (A SUITABLE BOY).

Photograph © Amanda Lane

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Book Info

Publication date

6th July 2006

Author

Vikram Seth

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Author's Website

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Publisher

Time Warner Books

Format

Paperback
512 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography

Biography: general
European history
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000

ISBN

9780349117980

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