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 20th, 2018
PublisherAtria Books
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, India, Adult Fiction

Reviews All the Lives We Never Lived

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 person...
  • 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 ...
  • 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,...
  • Tommi
    Review to come later.
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Vanya
    All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy is a narrative set in colonial India that traces the life of Gayatri as she deserts her marriage and her son, Myshkin, in search of artistic freedom. Married off to her father’s student immediately after his death, Gayatri feels stifled with Nek Chand, whose name itself is revelatory, symbolising his fervour for the greater cause of the struggle for Indian independence.Living an austere life, Nek Cha...
  • Eithne Murray
    Roy's book starts slowly and. inconsequentially. By the end she has created a work about familial relationships, politics, nationalism and its effect on the family, all within the framework of the Second World War. Thematically, it is partially reminiscent of Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, where the artist's will for self and familial expression is deemed unpatriotic by the System. Nek (NC) is reminiscent of Pasha, Lara's young husband, in that h...
  • Bill Berger
    Wonderful novel set in the Raj about a young boy, his mother and their family’s dealing with politics, infidelity and his coming of age. Highly recommended
  • Sankalpita (bookGeeks India)
    Watch a detailed video review on my Youtube channel -
  • 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.
  • dpcinh
    Lovely lyrical work!I picked it up as the author lived in Ranikhet. This was a sleepy cantonment town in the sylvan Kumaon hills where I spent my childhood. Alas, it has now turned as congested and raucous as Paharganj.So where is the fictional Muntajar? It seems to be an amalgam of Haldwani, Raiwala, Kotdwar and Ramnagar. I enjoyed the sojourn of Myshkin's great-grandfather in Harsil.Plan to read other works of this brilliant talented author.
  • Subowal
    The narrator of the story is the curiously named Myshkin Rozario. The story, however, is more about Gayatri, Myshkin's mother, who left home when Myshkin was 9 years old.Myshkin grew up in the 1930s in a large sprawling old house with only his grandfather, parents and servants. The grandfather, fondly named Batty Rozario, is a doctor and a more relaxed person than his son Nek Chand, who is into the freedom movement and believes life is meaningful...
  • Mira
    3.5 stars.“All the Lives We Never Lived” by Anuradha Roy is the tale of Myshkin, and his mother Gayatri, who runs away when Myshkin is 9 years old. Gayatri is trapped, a prisoner metaphorically speaking, in a life in which she does not belong, within the greater context of India and its people being trapped within the British Empire. The wheels are set in motion for the Second World War and the rise of Hitler, but all of those things seem far...
  • Keen
    2.5 Stars!“I don’t mind. This is what I’m leaving the world, I think to myself in grandiose moments such as these, when I sit with paper and pen before me, only the words, I, Myshkin Chand Rozario, written down. I am leaving the world trees that cover the town with shade, fruit, flowers. I am old enough to have watched saplings I planted grow into trees forty feet high.”Fiction and history overlap in here. This is a tale filled with quirk...
  • Joseph
    Anuradha Roy’s “All the Lives We Never Lived” is a beautifully written (I want to say delicate), slow-developing story about a man in his mid-50s remembering his life as a child in the 1930s and early 1940s. It reads like a memoir. The blurb on the back of the book is misleading and that became an irritant for me (the blurb on the back says the young boy’s mother is lost or abandoned him and he goes on a journey to piece her life together...
  • Paul Pessolano
    “All the Lives We Never Lived”, by Anuradha Roy, published by Atria Books.Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – November 20, 2018.This novel takes place in India as the country is striving to gain its independence from Great Britain.The first thing I would suggest is to get your India/English dictionary out and your book on Botany.Gayatri is a young woman who is feeling her independence but tragedy strikes and her family must f...
  • Tushar Pai
    On reading the summary of this book, it really seemed like one that I would enjoy reading. I love family sagas that traverse time and places, that make you lose yourself into the narrative so effectively that you lose track of the years through which the story flows and the myriad characters that you come across on the journey. But this one didn’t meet my expectations on that front and I struggled to finish the 330 paged novel.The book really c...
  • Kate
    An interesting and worthwhile read. I chose this book because, I'm guessing, I had loved Mukherjee's "The Lives of Others" as it has a similar title and is set in the Punjab.Nothing here overtly of the many struggles people have thrown themselves into on the subcontinent but the drumbeat under the story of a man's life told through his reflections on his delightful mother's story is the approach of inevitable war against Hitler and the Japanese. ...
  • Darren
    I read Roy’s Sleeping on Jupiter when it was Man Booker nominated and while I admired the writing I did not enjoy the novel.Somewhere in my online life the fact that Roy was going to Heffer’s in Cambridge to talk about this, her latest novel, came up and I booked a ticket. I wasn’t going to bother buying the book but I so enjoyed her talk I did buy it and got it signed.Several months later I finally started reading it a few pages at a time ...
  • Arathi Unni
    This was my third book from the JCB prize shortlist and it felt like a literary musical. All The Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy is the story of Myshkin, who lives with his parents & grandfather in the pre-independent town of Muntazir. His artist mother, on a fine day, leaves them all & moves with her “Englishman” friend, and that is when this beauty of a book unfolds. There was something very Ruskin Bond-ish about Myshkin & his life, th...
  • Kim
    Deeply moving and beautifully written this "memoir" of a young boy growing into manhood after his mother's abandonment is a worthy of your time .Poignant and bittersweet it touches the heart and leaves you feeling sympathy for all of the characters as they face life each from their own perspective just as we all do in reality ,sometimes not realizing the impact our view of the world has on others .This novel is definitely not like anything I've r...
  • Madhura
    I can easily say that Anuradha Roy’s All The Lives We Never Lived is one of my favorite books of 2018. For some reason I found it difficult to pen down this book review. Daunting, even. I guess I fear spoiling it’s myriad mysteries and pleasures and I feel every reader should explore this novel’s beauty on it’s own, without reading about it beforehand. So this won’t be your usual book review where I’ll be writing about what’s good a...
  • Anthony Wainaina
    A long read for me for no reason other than my desire to absorb every morsel of Anuradha’s novel. For me, ultimately a story about how art shapes and mis-shapes lives. It can be as beautiful (Bali, dance, painting, pottery) as it is brutal (Myshkin’s absence of mother and father,WWII); and as liberating ( Gay‘s leaving Home to follow her heart) as it can be incarcerating (Gay‘s inability to return home, Walter’s imprisonment).