The #FridayReads I posted a few days ago on The Great Gray Bridge website and on Facebook and Twitter, and now here on my tumblr, was Two Lives, Vikram Seth’s fascinating family chronicle of the singular marriage between his Indian uncle, Shanti–an improbable, one-armed dentist–and his German-Jewish aunt, Henny Caro, a mixed couple who managed to build a life together despite the difficulties imposed by circumstance and society, amid WWII and the Holocaust. Seth begins the narrative near the end of their lives, in the 1980s, and then works his way back in time, employing interviews he conducted with Shanti and documentary materials he discovered (letters, photos, school papers, etc.). This is a remarkable book, published in 2005.
N.B.: I first read and enjoyed Vikram Seth’s work years ago, when I read and at my bookstore Undercover Books sold his debut, a brilliant travelogue about China and Tibet, From Heaven Lake. He went on to write a novel in verse, The Golden Gate, inspired he explains in Two Lives, by Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. He is an inventive writer, who seems to never repeat himself.