All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy

All the Lives We Never Lived

From the Man Booker Prize-nominated author of Sleeping on Jupiter, The Folded Earth, and An Atlas of Impossible Longing, a poignant and sweeping novel set in India during World War II and the present-day about a son’s quest to uncover the truth about his mother. In my childhood, I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman. The man was in fact German, but in small‑town India in those days, all white foreigners were large...

Details All the Lives We Never Lived

TitleAll the Lives We Never Lived
Release DateNov 27th, 2018
PublisherAtria Books
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, India, Literary Fiction, Adult Fiction

Reviews All the Lives We Never Lived

  • Angela M
    3.5 stars Once in a while, I’m left struggling to understand how I feel about a book I’ve just read. This was one of those books. The story itself is full of struggles both personal and political. There are a number of things I liked about it, but yet something was missing that I find difficult to pinpoint. The writing in particular struck me from the beginning, beautiful prose and wonderfully reflective of emotion. I find that I enjoy first...
  • Diane S ☔
    One's sense of identity and the interior and exterior forces that help shape the person we become. Our narrator for most of the book is Myshkin, now a horticulturist, looking back on his life, the personal and the changes in his country. We learn of his mother's early life in 1930 India, and her how her childhood shaped the person she became. How her leaving when he was only nine, changed his perception and the course of his life. His father, a d...
  • Theresa Alan
    This novel has beautifully written sentences and images, but the story itself is impossible to get into because it keeps going off on tangents that don’t move the plot forward. It's about Myshkin coming to terms with his artistic mother rebelling against what Indian culture at that time in history deemed acceptable for women--she ran off with a German artist, leaving Myshkin and his father to fend for themselves in a time of war. Thanks to NetG...
  • Seemita
    Letters. Those intimate little bits of paper and ink that hold many worlds, some known and some hidden. A best friend who takes all our secrets and refrains from being judgemental. Also, an enemy who slays every icy vein and renders us defenceless. A lap that cradles at night to keep our insomnia at bay. Also, a gust that denudes our pretences and tramps on our breathing. Of many dimensions and flights – of success and euphoria, of defeat and g...
  • Rakhi Dalal
    The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.” ― Ursula K. Le GuinThe only constant in life is change; the phenomenon that drives those wheels which move our life forward. Though being shaped by our own decisions or choices, the trajectory is difficult to ascertain. For, being a part of an ephemeral (also chaotic) world, much that we go through or are faced with, is also influenced...
  • Doug
    I've read all of Roy's four novels (the first one, 'An Atlas of Impossible Longing', twice), and was surprised (but kind of delighted) to find this most reminiscent of that debut work, rather than 'The Folded Earth' or her Booker-nominated 'Sleeping on Jupiter'. Regardless, it is always a sublime pleasure to read her luminous and luxurious prose, and am hoping that this year's Booker committee again sees fit to place her on the longlist, at the v...
  • Esil
    All the Lives We Never Lived was not perfect, but there’s something about it that really drew me in. The story is set in India, moving between the 1930’s and the 1980’s. The narrator, Myshkin, is in his 60’s, and looking back on his childhood. His mother left the family when Myshkin was 9 years old. Later in life, having received a package containing letters written by his mother in the first few years after her departure, Myshkin tries t...
  • Asha Seth
    I am battling between a 4 and a 5.Overwhelming characters, rich poetic prose, and an engaging storyline make for a heartwarming reading experience...Abundantly melancholic to a point where it gets under your skin and weighs down your heart. But that's all right, for some books crave to be heard. No, not heard, but felt. And this is one of those books. You'll love every bit of it and hate yourself for loving it for you feel so torn and heartbroken...
  • Ron Charles
    Anuradha Roy’s new novel, “All the Lives We Never Lived,” is once again filled with impossible longing. The plot is a silhouette in words, an anguished delineation of the shadow cast by a woman’s absence. “In my childhood,” the narrator begins, “I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman.” Though many decades have passed, the pain and shame of that abandonment still feel fresh. “My mother had torn herself...
  • Will
    I can easily see this novel ending up as one of my favorite books of the year. It is the 2nd book in a row that I have given 5 stars, the 1st being Tim Winton’s The Shepard’s Hut. Roy’s novel joins Winton’s in being one I would be happy to see on the Booker longlist (which, as I write this, is only 23 days away). I can only hope such a winning reading streak continues for me. So…I am tempted to leave it at that and allow future readers ...
  • Katie Lumsden
    I absolutely loved this one. Such an engaging, moving, fascinating read. It follows a man looking back on his life growing up in India in the 1930s, focused on his relationship with his relationship with his mother, who was absent for most of his childhood. I found it such a compelling read, beautifully written with a fantastic engagement with that period in history, and I would highly recommend it. I read this for the Watler Scott Prize longlist...
  • Nancy
    "It is the year 1937 that I feel on my skin." from All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha RoyAs a toddler, Myshin suffered from convulsions, which led his grandfather to nickname him after the character in Dostoevsky's The Idiot. The nickname stuck, even after the fits stopped--much to the boy's chagrin. "Innocents are what make humankind human," his grandfather explained.In 1937 Myshkin's mother warned him to come straight home from school. Fa...
  • Fidan Lurin
    All the Lives We Never Lived is a stunning achievement of Anuradha Roy, being his fourth novel. It is a beautiful overlapping history that explores love, secrecy and the definition of family. This book, about halfway through began to remind me of Donna Tartt’s, The Goldfinch in the way that the story of a mother who is really only briefly actually present in either of the books is told by their sons, sick with longing ofr their presence and the...
  • Kevin Shepherd
    "I need nobody else. I am contented and complete with my animals in a way I never have been with human beings. People think of my solitude as an eccentricity or a symptom of failure, as if I am closer to animals and trees because human beings betrayed me or because I found nobody to love. It is hard to explain to them that the shade of a tree I planted years ago or the feverish intensity of a dog fruitlessly chasing a butterfly provides what no h...
  • ns510
    3.5 stars.“In my childhood, I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman.”Vacillated between 3.5 to 4 stars. It was a solid 4 stars as I was reading it - lovely prose, thoughtful and almost philosophical writing - but I didn’t particularly seek it when I had put it down, and now that it’s been some time since I’ve finished it, I find it hasn’t lingered in my mind as long as I thought it might. To be fair, I’ve ...
  • Avishek Bhattacharjee
    কোথাও আমার হারিয়ে যাওয়ার নেই মানা...I can only remember this song while writing a short review of this exceptional piece of art.Recently I have read Chinatown which was like an epic and now "All the lives we never lived".The best part of this book is the overlap of history and fiction.The content of a tormented tortured nation, world war, love story , ruins and remnants of war, famous ...
  • Donna Davis
    I had not read Roy’s work before, but when I saw this galley—with an arresting cover and the promise of a Man Booker nominated author—I jumped on it. Thanks go to Net Galley and Atria Books for the review copy. It’s for sale now.I’m months late with my review, and the cause of my tardiness is my ambivalence about this book and my confusion as to why it fizzled for me. It starts out well, and at the outset I love Gayatri, the nonconformi...
  • Richa Bhattarai
    A book you *can* judge by its cover - it’s beautiful !I’ve loved Anuradha Roy since I read #anatlasofimpossiblelonging. The relation between the protagonists, intense, flawed and arresting. I was so taken with it that I named our honeymoon album after the book. In this novel, it’s wonderful to watch how much more mature Roy’s writing has become. An aging horticulturist tries to understand why his mother left him and ran away with a foreig...
  • Sahil Sood
    Set in pre-independent India and Dutch-held Bali during the Second World War, Anuradha Roy's 'All the Lives We Never Lived' (pub. MacLehose Press), is a dazzling account of lives stranded across two continents, dealing with loss, uncertainty, and abandonment. She deftly brings out the chaos, confusion, and resentment in the inner life of a child whose mother, struggling for independence against tradition and longing for artistic freedom, mysterio...
  • Chaitalee Ghosalkar
    You have one life to live. What do you do with it? Do you live it the way expected of you, confirming to the norms, all the while suffocating yourself with the futility of living the way you don't want to? Or do you break free of the intangible shackles and be the true owner of your life, even if it comes at the cost of the wrath of the world?All through the book, there's a profound sadness that settles upon you, reminding you of the time or occa...
  • Priyanka Naik
    What happens when an artistic soul is trapped in the finitude of practicality...when someone you’re meant to spend your life with does not understand your passion, constantly degrades your choices, and humiliates you for behaving differently (than he expects)?There are two options for a woman. Either she throttles her desires, sacrifices her passion for the sake of family/society and makes peace with living a dissatisfied, subservient existence...
  • Hansda Shekhar
    This novel is quite an achievement. There is history, there are cameos by famous people from the past, there is a love story, there is a family drama, there is a search, there are also current affairs and environmental issues, and all of it in an engrossing, moving, tear-jerking read. The action takes place in India and Bali, the canvas is huge, and Anuradha Roy keeps it all in place as she seems to surpass her own excellence. I totally loved "Al...
  • Cynthia
    I know I probably should have enjoyed this book but I struggled with it! It took me well over 100 pages to “get into it”. I had trouble understanding the characters and their choices, especially the mother in this book. The writing is well done but this book wasn’t for me.
  • Sahil Pradhan
    Here is a novel that could so easily have been loud. It is set among large events: the fight for Indian independence and the second world war. It features characters from history who enter the lives of the novel’s fictional characters, often to dramatic effect – the poet Rabindranath Tagore, the singer Begum Akhtar, the dancer and critic Beryl de Zoete and the German painter and curator Walter Spies. It has at its heart a young boy whos...
  • Manreet Someshwar
    All The Lives We Never Lived, Anuradha Roy’s fourth novel, published by Hachette India, is the story of an elderly man, with the unusual name of Myshkin Rozario, looking back upon his life as he attempts to piece together the jigsaw of his mother’s abrupt disappearance when he was a child. The narrative is set amidst the turmoil of 1930s pre-independent India when freedom struggle is ratcheting up. Obviously, Gandhi lingers in the background,...
  • Sairam Krishnan
    Even without reading Anuradha Roy’s earlier books, All The Lives We Never Lived will strike you as something quite special. For one, its pacing and pitch is perfect. It never speeds up or slows down, something which at times happens with novels of this depth and scale. And it also doesn’t preach to you, as other novels dealing with similar events and characters do.You’ll know as you read that this is a writer at the top of her game: There...
  • Karla Strand
    I had heard a lot of buzz about this book and it did not disappoint. The prose is lyrical, lovely, and detailed. The character development is full and rich, as is the plot. This is a book I would read again in order to get all of the nuances the author clearly intends. I appreciated how Roy was able to take on the myriad of voices she includes, as well as the varying time frames. With themes including sex roles and gender equality, child abandonm...
  • Tommi
    Review to come later.
  • Anupama C K(b0rn_2_read)
    Though I could understand Gayathri, it was hard to forgive for leaving Myshkin behind