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An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy

An Atlas of Impossible Longing


An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy

Beginning in 1907 with the founding of a factory in Songarh, a small provincial town where narrow attitudes prevail, the story is of three generations of an Indian family, brilliantly told, in which a sensitive and intelligent foundling boy orphan who is casteless and without religion and Bakul, the motherless granddaughter of the house, grow up together. The boy, Mukunda, spends his time as a servant in the house or reading the books of Mrs Barnum, an Anglo-Englishwoman whose life was saved long ago by Bakul's grandmother, by now demented by loneliness. Mrs Barnum gives Mukunda the run of her house, but as he and Bakul grow, they become aware that their intense closeness is becoming something else, and Bakul's father is warned to separate them. He banishes Mukunda to a school in Calcutta. The many strands of this intensely fashioned narrative converge when Mukunda, by now a successful businessman, returns to Songarh years after he has been exiled from the only home he knew, to resolve the family's destiny.


'Written with a soaring yet impeccably balanced lyricism, Roy's prose does not hit a single wrong note: its restrained beauty sings off the page. Above all, the book has an elusive quality, so absent from the contemporary novel, a quality that can only be described as grace'
Time magazine

. * Time magazine * 'A story to lose yourself in ... Anuradha Roy is a wonderful writer ... this tale of three generations of an Indian family, set over the span of the 20th century, is brilliantly told
Sunday Express

. * Sunday Express * 'A lyrical love letter to India's past - an India of innocent child brides and jasmine-scented summer evenings. Poetic and evocative. Roy's writing is a joy
Financial Times

. * Financial Times *

About the Author

Anuradha Roy won the Economist Crossword Prize, India's premier award for fiction, for her novel The Folded Earth, which was nominated for several other prizes including the Man Asia, the D.S.C., and the Hindu Literary Award. Her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, has been widely translated and was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and The Seattle Times.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th March 2009


Anuradha Roy

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MacLehose Press an imprint of Quercus Publishing


320 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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