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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Masterful . His fierce intelligence and sophisticated storytelling combine to produce an unforgettable portrait of one family riven by the forces of history and their own desires." (Patrick Flanery Daily Telegraph)

"Rich and engrossing . Consistently vivid and well realised, it confidently covers a great deal of varied social terrain. . Unfailingly interesting" (Theo Tait Sunday Times)

"Very ambitious and very successful. . One of Mukherjee's great gifts is precisely his capacity to imagine the lives of others. . Neel Mukherjee terrifies and delights us simultaneously" (A S Byatt Guardian)

"Deeply affecting and ambitious ... In startling imagery that sears itself into the mind, The Lives of Others excellently exposes the gulf between rich and poor, young and old, tradition and modernity, us and them, showing how acts of empathy are urgently needed to bridge the divides." (Anita Sethi Observer)

"Neel Mukherjee has written an outstanding novel: compelling, compassionate and complex, vivid, musical and fierce." (Rose Tremain)

"Full of acute, often uncomfortable and angry, observations, The Lives of Others is a picture of a family in all its disunity, and beyond it a city and country, on the brink of disaster." (The Times)

"A Seth-ian narrative feast with dishes to spare ... a graphic reminder that the bourgeois Indian culture western readers so readily idealize is sustained at terrible human cost" (Patrick Gale Independent)

"Expansive and often brilliant. Mukherjee spares the reader nothing.yet his command of storytelling is so astounding, he draws the reader into places they would prefer not to look" (Claire Allfree Metro)

"The writing is unfailingly beautiful . Resembles a tone poem in its dazzling orchestration of the crescendo of domestic racket. His eye is as acute as his ear: the physicality of people and objects is delineated with a hyper-aesthetic vividness .." (Jane Shilling New Statesman)

"Neel Mukherjee has given us a picture of India that cuts through history, social classes and regions but centers on a nouveau pauvre family. Every scene is rendered with a Tolstoyan clarity and compassion." (Edmund White)

"A devastating portrayal of a decadent society and the inevitably violent uprising against it, in the tradition of such politically charged Indian literature as the work of Prem Chand, Manto and Mulk Raj Anand. It is ferocious, unsparing and brutally honest." (Anita Desai)

"Brilliant" (Alexander Gilmour FT)

"Powerful. Mukherjee's depiction of the tangled system.that develops when so many members of a family live under one roof is superb. In clear yet lyrical prose, Mukherjee carefully explores not just what it means to be part of a family, but what it means to be part of an unequal society. It's impossible not to be utterly engaged by this intelligent and moving epic" (Anna Carey Sunday Business Post)

Présentation de l'éditeur

***Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014***

***Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2014***

'Ma, I feel exhausted with consuming, with taking and grabbing and using. I am so bloated that I feel I cannot breathe any more. I am leaving to find some air, some place where I shall be able to purge myself, push back against the life given me and make my own. I feel I live in a borrowed house. It's time to find my own. Forgive me.'

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 this note .

The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unravelling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider.

Ambitious, rich and compassionate The Lives of Others anatomises the soul of a nation as it unfolds a family history. A novel about many things, including the limits of empathy and the nature of political action, it asks: how do we imagine our place amongst others in the world? Can that be reimagined? And at what cost? This is a novel of unflinching power and emotional force.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 34 commentaires
42 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Mind expanding 27 juillet 2014
Par Catherina Gere - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This is the most devastating, unsentimental novel I have ever read. It begins with a short ferocious prologue, delineating one extreme of poverty and desperation, before the main narrative drops the reader into the doings of a privileged middle-class family in Calcutta. Only as you read on, do you come to understand how the two are connected. A quick word of warning: like the great Russian novels that this work somewhat resembles, the protagonists have multiple, complicated names. I urge readers to make use of the family tree at the beginning and the explanation of Bengali naming conventions at the end, in order to get a grip on the cast of characters. The payoff will be huge. The author's imagination and his unsparing compassion will give you insight into 'the lives of others' whom you might never otherwise begin to understand. This is mind expanding, morally serious, life changing stuff. It is why we need literature.
20 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"...the supreme acoustics of Bengali life" 16 juillet 2014
Par Sue Kichenside - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
In The Lives of Others, Neel Mukherjee takes a more than averagely dysfunctional family and employs it as a metaphor for the State and the state of West Bengal in the late 1960s. Patriarch Prafullanath, his children Adinath, Priyonath, venomous unmarriageable Chhaya, Bholanath, late addition Somnath, and grandchildren, revolutionary Supratik, Suranjan, Baishakhi, Arunima, maths prodigy Sona and shy Kalyani. Thank goodness for the (frequently referred to) family tree at the outset; even so, the cast of characters is confusing, what with pet names, prefixes, relational terms and so forth.

There is also some confusion, it must be said, with the arrangement of this narrative. The reader is dropped into the Ghosh family home from the height of the top-floor terrace where 16-year old Baishakhi is carrying on a roof-top flirtation with the boy next door. Mukherjee takes us down through the various levels of the big house in which all the Ghoshes live and as he gradually reveals the family members' back-stories, we come to understand the pecking order, the beefs and jealousies, the blood bonds and the blood-boiling bust-ups.

In alternate chapters (set in different type), first grandson Supratik, conducts a correspondence with an unknown party. He has rejected his comfortable, middle-class upbringing to become a left-wing political activist. Leaving a note for his inconsolable mother, he disappears into the villages of remote rural districts where he and his band of comrades hope to harness the hunger of the peasant class to ignite an uprising.

This is a powerful story, complex in the telling. It may take a little time to get into and the shifting focus may make for a rather more challenging read than usual, but this book is rewarding on many levels, not least for its specific regional vantage point. Neel Mukherjee conveys his underlying message with unflinching authority but he is also capable of wry humour as demonstrated in his amiably-written glossary at the end of the book. (Just wish I'd known it was there sooner!)
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A big, heart stopping book 22 août 2014
Par Umita R Venkataraman - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is a political novel in its true sense although at times it might seem like an Indian family drama. It’s not really a drama either. It is a grand Bengali opera - with many voices and several acts and the inevitable tragic ending. ‘The Lives of Others’ brings together many spheres: the Naxalite movement, corrupt, greedy landlords and the plight of the landless farmers, corporate greed and the displacement of tribals... In its pages lurk drought and famine and eight course Bengali feasts. Mukherjee describes in loving detail a shaat lahari haar (a necklace with seven strands) as he does the grinding poverty of the migrant workers and the emotional wreckage of a girl pushed aside by society because of her dark skin. Nothing escapes his scrutiny.

This is a novel of ascension after loss and gradual decline and fall. The Ghosh family is on the slippery slope as the political climate in India and indeed, Bengal brings storm clouds. Slip ups in parenting lead to children going astray and a tangled mess of relationships. The book soars elegantly through the magic of prime numbers and Euclidean mathematics and plunges into the extraordinary violence of beheading of people with sickles.

Readers who are familiar with Bengali culture will glide through this book. Others might find it a bit of a struggle because the author uses the Bengali form of address throughout the book and you'll need to quickly figure out who's who for a smooth sail. But investing a bit of effort will yield rich rewards because this is a big, heart stopping book.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Refreshing & Engaging! 13 juillet 2014
Par b00k r3vi3ws - Publié sur
Format: Relié
The Lives of Others narrates the story of one Supratik and his family, set in the 1960s Calcutta. This is the era when the Naxalite were terrorizing and changing the lives of many. While Supratik's family is struggling with a crumbling business, his concern is more focused towards improving the lives of the poor through communist ideals. So of course there is a clash of ideals and thoughts within the family. How does Supratik handle things? What steps would he take?

The title itself is intriguing and very apt for the scenario. We Indians have a tendency to evaluate and judge the Lives of others never mind the status of our own. Through the protagonist, Supratik, the author probably tells the story of hundred other youngsters of the time. He is a strong character with a mind of his own and the will to follow through his ideals. Besides, him the other characters may feel a bit dull though they each bring in their own flavours to the novel. I especially enjoyed reading about the nuances of a Bengali family that is so typical that made me feel like I know Supratik's family. Then there is the matter of author's depiction of the Naxalite band and their effect - of the violence of that era. He has handled it with as much honesty as about the rest of the things in the book.

Overall a refreshingly well narrated story of all things Bengali, with s strong plot (and sub-plots) that will keep the reader engaged throughout.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Don't miss this stunning read. 27 novembre 2014
Par chris proctor - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The Lives of Others is a truly excellent novel and certainly deserving of the Booker Prize if the competition from The Narrow Road to the Deep North had not been so strong. Mukherjee writes beautifully and weaves a complex story, backwards and forwards through time, of the lives of the members of an Indian family, highlighting the social and political situation of the times. Reading it is like sinking into a warm bath, as you gradually get familiar with the characters and their personalities, as well as their past lives and motivations. Secrets are gradually revealed as the plot moves towards its powerful conclusion.

One tip to future readers is to follow the family tree at the beginning of the book closely as there are numerous characters with unfamiliar Indian names. Although it takes a while to become familiar with them all, it's well worth the effort.

This is a richly rewarding novel on many levels and is a joy to read.
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