In , he published Two Lives , a family memoir written at the suggestion of his mother, which focuses on the lives of his great-uncle Shanti Behari Seth and German-Jewish great aunt Henny Caro who met in Berlin in the early s while Shanti was a student there and with whom Seth stayed extensively on going to England at age 17 for school. It sometimes seems as though the author took a bunch of documents and pieced them together without much commentary in between. Still, Seth's clear prose and deft understanding of human lives set against the backdrop of history is fascinating and one can have a glimpse into the minds of Germans after the war.
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The book is infused with prose that is poetic, sensitive, insightful, and pure. I was very much impressed by the great care Seth takes in exploring even minor aspects of their character and story.
Vikram Seth, Writing About 'Two Lives' : NPR
International Customers If you are located outside the U. The strange journeys we undertake on our earthly pilgrimage, the joy livves suffering we taste or confer, the chance events that leave us together or apart, what a complex trace they leave: While Seth concludes, meditatively, that great drama can be found behind the quiet facades of any suburban house, in fact, his aunt and uncle's lives were both, in different ways, dramatic and unusual.
Arion and the Dolphin. Other than an in-your-face-can't -avoid feeling of disgust for something that has been condemned to no end, the description serves little purpose in the book. Thirdly the author leads the reader on a voyage of discovery of the background of Shanti and Helga and in doing so discusses some of the darker events of the twentieth century for they were survivors of that violent era.
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. It is worth reading yes, perfect it is not. Shanti died in The most heart-wrenching part of sefh book for me was the part containing Henny's correspondance with her German friends after the war trying to learn what had happened to her Mother and sister. I just finished the Memoir about Two Lives.
While Seth presumably did not have relatives that went through the horrors of fleeing the homeland in west and arriving in the partitioned India weth, or worse, India saw the distress of those that were its own and forever disapproved of any formation of a nation on principle of a religion, especially of driving out people of other religions.
Jul 01, Jennie rated it really liked it Shelves: Seth's aunt was a German by birth, and by all historical and testimonial records, Jewish people of Germany identified themselves as German and were ever more certain of their integration. Seth's thoughts must be understood in a larger context, of the history of his own nation during those years.
Although he was a good student, such requirement was a hard nut to crack.
Vikram Seth, Writing About 'Two Lives'
The Seths of Biswan open the memoir with a view into what their principles were, and for times as old as the early 20th century, they come across as a family that is savvier than the others you have read about, and actually hold education in high esteem, besides the fact that their women seem so independent, given the times. Secondly we have the introductory section Part One that introduces the author, Vikram Seth and his schooling in England and later the United States which precipitated his close relationship with Shanti, his grandfather's brother, and Helga.
Two Lives by Vikram Seth
While, from his letters when serving overseas, Shanti appears desperately enamoured of Henny, her response and even availability - given the shadowy presence of Hans Fikram - is clouded in ambiguity. But it is other things at the same time, a bit like life, really. And, in addition to the anguish of learning about the fate of her family, Henny had to deal with her ambivalent feelings toward her non-Jewish friends.
The subjects it touches, if one is not well aware of them one wishes to go on and read more about them. She escapes to London, marries an Indian, but what is most interesting is that she maintains her relationships with her German Christian friends, whose circle she had been entrenched.
I felt that a picture of those individual lives would be complemented by glimpses of their century,even if these glimpses were mediated by the opinion, perhaps opinionatedness, of the author. It all sort of peters out at the end when he discovers things about his uncle that make him, basically, SPOILER ALERT, change Not a page turner, except when I speed read through he dense ilves material to try to keep an eye on the memoir narrative.
Reflections of a 'Piano Girl' June 11, Jan 21, Sorayya Khan rated it really liked it.
I haven't read the book: Still, growing towards light is a positive sign. What intrigued me most about Shanti that he never talked about the aggressive bigotry and rise of Nazism while he was in Germany.