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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 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.

©2014 Neel Mukherjee (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bookworm
  • 10-29-14

Gripping

I loved The Lowland and I loved this epic and gripping family saga. Thus, I could not take off my earphones. And my compliments to Raj Ghatak. His lively narration is easy to follow even for me not that familiar with the Indian accent.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • 03-02-15

Not a feel-good listen!

Really enjoyed this audiobook, it's a great insight into the webs a family weaves, especially a family entrenched in tradition, finding it hard to adjust to new ideas. It's pretty difficult to get into but I persisted as many of the best books are.

The narration was perfect for the setting, I was never distracted by it, which to me is the mark of a good story teller: he performed without pulling the spotlight from the narrative.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • richard.storm
  • 07-21-15

Griping start dull middle never got to end

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I would grade it 2 as it has potential but it is so varied.

What could Neel Mukherjee have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Cut out the mundane a bit more.

Have you listened to any of Raj Ghatak’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I have not.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Lives of Others?

I cut the last two thirds by not listening to them.

Any additional comments?

Hard work that I could not do while driving.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful