An Atlas of Impossible Longing
By Anuradha Roy
(Free Press, Paperback, 9781451608625, 336pp.)
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
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Already a sensation around the world: family life meets historical romance in an astonishing novel about two people who find each other when abandoned by everyone else, marking the signal American debut of a writer who richly deserves her international acclaim.
On the outskirts of a small town in Bengal, a family lives in solitude in their vast new house. Here, lives intertwine and unravel. A widower struggles with his love for an unmarried cousin. Bakul, a motherless daughter, runs wild with Mukunda, an orphan of unknown caste adopted by the family. Confined in a room at the top of the house, a matriarch goes slowly mad; her husband searches for its cause as he shapes and reshapes his garden. As Mukunda and Bakul grow, their intense closeness matures into something else, and Mukunda is banished to Calcutta. He prospers in the turbulent years after Partition, but his thoughts stay with his home, with Bakul, with all that he has lost—and he knows that he must return.
Anuradha Roy is the author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, which has been published in sixteen countries and named by World Literature Today as one of the sixty most essential books on modern India. She lives in India.
Praise for An Atlas of Impossible Longing:
“Every once in a great while, a novel comes along to remind you why you rummage through shelves in the first place. . . . [A]s you slip into the book’s pages, you sense you are entering a singular creation. . . . And then, suddenly, you are swept away. . . . This, you think, is the feeling you had as you read Great Expectations or Sophie's Choice or The Kite Runner. This is why you read fiction at all.” —The Washington Post
“Roy’s prose does not hit a single wrong note: its restrained beauty sings off the page.” —Neel Mukherjee, Time Magazine
“Refreshing. . . . [Roy] defines her characters quickly and skillfully, she has a keen eye for landscape, and she knows how private lives can suggest the larger shape of the public world.” —The New York Times
“Set in mid-twentieth-century India, this debut novel spans generations and political upheavals, [chronicling] both the strength of domestic bonds and the wounds that parents and children, and husbands and wives, inflict on each other.” —The New Yorker
“Epic. . . . [a] gorgeous, sweeping novel.” —Ms Magazine
“Impressive. . . . With her rich imagination, vivid descriptions, and skillful handling of events. . . . Roy weaves a tapestry of family life in India. . . . the story and characters stay with the reader for a long time. Roy is a writer to watch.” —The SeattleTimes
“Roy’s prose soars with a lyricism that can take your breath away. . . . From her whirlwind opening sentences, readers know they’re in for a ride.” —Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
“A novel to convince us that boldly drawn sagas with larger-than-life characters are still possible in a relentlessly postmodern world. . . . A sprawling epic of love, class and ambition.” —Denver Post
“An incandescently evocative debut novel filled with wrenching tragedy as well as abiding passion.” —Booklist