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Two Lives

by Vikram Seth

Biography / Autobiography

LoveReading View on Two Lives

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.

Sarah Broadhurst

Two Lives Synopsis

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.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780349117980
Publication date: 06/07/2006
Publisher: Time Warner Books
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780349117980
Publication date: 6th July 2006
Author: Vikram Seth
Publisher: Time Warner Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 512 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography,
Categories: Biography: general, European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,

About 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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