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The Resource A life apart, Neel Mukherjee

A life apart, Neel Mukherjee

Label
A life apart
Title
A life apart
Statement of responsibility
Neel Mukherjee
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Ritwik Ghosh, twenty-two and recently orphaned, finds the chance to start a new life when he arrives in England from Calcutta. But Oxford holds little of the salvation Ritwik is looking for. Instead, he moves to London, where he drops out of official existence into a shadowy hinterland of illegal immigrants. The story that Ritwik writes to stave off his loneliness begins to find ghostly echoes in his own life. And, as present and past of several lives collide, Ritwik's own goes into free fall."--
Member of
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Mukherjee’s debut novel follows the complicated journey of a young Indian immigrant forging a new life. Just a few months after his mother’s unexpected death, 22-year-old Ritwik Ghosh receives a scholarship to attend college in England. Though Ritwik is grateful to flee Calcutta, he struggles to find his place as an outsider and is tormented by the difficult memories of an abusive childhood. Mental relief, though temporary, is found through risky sexual liaisons with strangers. When Ritwik’s student visa runs out, he remains in England illegally, finding work in a diverse London neighborhood as a live-in caretaker. To make additional money, Ritwik soon descends into the dark chasm of life as an undocumented immigrant, taking on manual labor and prostitution. Interspersed with Ritwik’s modern-day tale is one he is writing about an English governess named Maud Gilby. Living in India on the cusp of the 1905 partition of Bengal, Maud finds herself navigating an unfamiliar world which, mirroring Ritwik’s, becomes increasingly tumultuous. Mukherjee’s tale is deeply layered, offering a rich exploration into the ambiguity of belonging. -- Strauss, Leah (Reviewed 2/15/2016) (Booklist, vol 112, number 12, p27)
  • /* Starred Review */ Following his mother’s death, and soon after his father’s, protagonist Ritwik is surprised to find himself entirely alone in his Calcutta neighborhood at age 21, not nearly as happy as he’d hoped he’d be with his mother gone (she was both the “proudest” mother in the area and, seemingly, the most abusive, “always on the edge of fury,” if not in its throes). His loneliness follows him to rainy rural England, where a scholarship gets him two years in university, and then on to London, where he stays without working papers. Ritwik is unable to shake the trauma of his mother’s cruelty, punishing himself once she no longer can. Throughout this time, which is set in the early days of AIDS, Ritwik finds men with whom he can have brief, furtive encounters in bathroom stalls and on unlit backstreets, never learning their names, never allowing himself affection or trust. And yet he’s not without hope. Interspersed throughout the book are installments of Ritwik’s own forays into fiction, imagining one Miss Maud Gilby: a minor character from a Tagore novel and an intrepid, early 20th-century British woman intent on educating Indian women. Calcutta native Mukherjee (The Lives of Others) illuminates the crevices of shame and despair with his beautiful prose. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed 01/11/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 02, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Historical and contemporary, lit with flashes of magic and violence, this intriguing novel offers multifaceted portraits of India and England as seen from the perspective of a clever, burdened misfit. Released now in the U.S. after the success of his second novel, this prizewinning debut by Mukherjee (The Lives of Others, 2014) impresses with its fluid originality and ambition. Alternating chapters explore parallel narratives, one involving Miss Maud Gilby, an early-20th-century campaigner for women's education in colonial Bengal, the other devoted to modern-day Ritwik Ghosh, who escapes from Calcutta via a two-year scholarship to a British university and then stays on beyond his visa to live in social limbo in London. Horribly abused by his mother, Ritwik abandoned India after his parents' deaths but is now unmoored, with no religion or home, and is further marginalized by his homosexuality. Maud Gilby, meanwhile, turns out to be a minor character from fiction borrowed by Ritwik to feature in the story he's writing about India during a time of anti-British ferment, a tale of dislocated experience and exile mirroring Ritwik's life. In London he descends into the gritty worlds of undocumented labor and prostitution, scenarios intercut with oddly tender episodes spent taking care of his landlady, an 86-year-old with a past in India whom he tends with a concern that he could never show to his own mother. Ritwik's addiction to casual hookups draws him back repeatedly to the perilous yet thrilling sexual meat market around King's Cross Station, where he will find an inverted salvation through his relationship with a shady foreigner but will also discover the price of apartness. Consistently confounding expectations, Mukherjee's story of the gathering descent of a solitary soul is both poignant and unsentimental, the work of a notably sophisticated writer.(Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2016)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10169259
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Mukherjee, Neel
Dewey number
823/.92
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR9499.4.M84
LC item number
P377 2016
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Orphans
  • Immigrants
Target audience
adult
Label
A life apart, Neel Mukherjee
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
21 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
371 pages
Isbn
9780393352108
Isbn Type
(pbk.)
Lccn
2015041319
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 909974502
  • (OCoLC)909974502
Label
A life apart, Neel Mukherjee
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
21 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
371 pages
Isbn
9780393352108
Isbn Type
(pbk.)
Lccn
2015041319
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 909974502
  • (OCoLC)909974502

Library Locations

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      37.377573 -76.770995
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