During his own adolescence in England, Vikram Seth lived with Shanti and Henny and came to know and love them deeply. His is the third life in this story of Two Lives.
This is also a book about history, encompassing as it does many of the most significant themes and events in the 20th century, whose currents are reflected in the lives of Shanti, Henny, and their family: from the Raj and the Indian freedom movement to the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and British postwar society.
©2005 Vikram Seth; (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks
"Truly unforgettable....Moving and illuminating." (The Times)
I don't worry too much about what I read, as long as its interesting or entertaining or both.
I thought this would be similar to the novel a suitable boy, which also is slow to start, but is then a pleasant story that whiles away some time and gives an insight into another culture and the lives therein, this however, is slow to start and remains slow,it seems to be a cathartic book which just doesnt really engage.
At first I was disapppointed in the listen because I mistook this for a Vikram Seth novel, but sandwiched between a little too much info on the writer's own life and definitely too much about his late uncle's will, is the touching true story of Henny and Shanti - "rooted exiles of the 20th century" - as well as their times. Seth also devotes a chapter or two to his view of the grand currents of 20th centruy histoy which, stangely, fits in this strange brew of a book.
The middle part - about 4/5ths of the book - is drawn from interviews with his elderly uncle, and more interestingly, letters of his German born aunt who found refuge in England as the Nazis ascended in Germany. The letters are narrated by three people other than Seth -- so the listen resembles the novel, "The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society" - except in this case the letters are authentic and present more information on civilian living conditions in post war Germany as well as England.
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