My Beloved Life
'This profound book is full of lives whose beauty lies in the wholeness of their telling.' – Salman Rushdie
A novel that tells the story of modern India, through the life of one apparently ordinary man, from the death of Gandhi to the rise of Modi
Jadunath Kunwar's beginnings are humble, even inauspicious. His mother, while pregnant, nearly dies from a cobra bite. And this is only the first of many challenges in store for Jadu. As his life skates between the mythical and the mundane, Jadu finds meaning in the most unexpected places. He meets the sherpa who first summited Everest. He befriends poets and politicians. He becomes a historian. And he has a daughter, Jugnu, a television journalist with a career in the United States – whose perspective sheds new light on his story.
All the while, currents of huge change sweep across India – from Independence to Partition, Gandhi to Modi, the Mahabharata to Somerset Maugham, cholera to covid – and buffet both Jadu and Jugnu's lives.
Piercing, fast-paced, and resonant, Amitava Kumar's My Beloved Life explores how we tell stories and write history, how individuals play a counterpoint to big movements, and how no single life is without consequence.
'Amitava Kumar has the precious ability to write across borders and cultures.' – Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland
'This profound book is full of lives whose beauty lies in the wholeness of their telling. A father, a daughter, a crime, a country being born, a migration, another country, a plague. “We are in touch with a great astonishing mystery when we put honest words down on paper to register a life and to offer witness. Everything else is ordinary,” Kumar writes. His novel offers magnificent witness, and is not ordinary but extraordinary.'
Amitava Kumar has the precious ability to write across borders and cultures.
Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland