Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jun 15, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
22 Reviews
From the author of The Last Mughal (“A compulsively readable masterpiece” —The New York Review of Books), an exquisite, mesmerizing book that illuminates the remarkable ways in which traditional forms of religious life in India have been transformed in the vortex of the region’s rapid change—a book that distills the author’s twenty-five years of travel in India, taking us deep into ways of life that we might otherwise never have known exist.

A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet—and spends the rest of his life atoning for the violence by hand printing the finest prayer flags in India . . . A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her closest friend ritually starve herself to death . . . A woman leaves her middle-class life in Calcutta and finds unexpected fulfillment living as a Tantric in an isolated, skull-filled cremation ground . . . A prison warder from Kerala is worshipped as an incarnate deity for three months of every year . . . An idol carver, the twenty-third in a long line of sculptors, must reconcile himself to his son’s desire to study computer engineering . . . An illiterate goatherd from Rajasthan keeps alive in his memory an ancient four-thousand-stanza sacred epic . . . A temple prostitute, who initially resisted her own initiation into sex work, pushes both her daughters into a trade she nonetheless regards as a sacred calling.

William Dalrymple chronicles these lives with expansive insight and a spellbinding evocation of circumstance. And while the stories reveal the vigorous resilience of individuals in the face of the relentless onslaught of modernity, they reveal as well the continuity of ancient traditions that endure to this day. A dazzling travelogue of both place and spirit.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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What a wonderful book, fabulously researched. - Goodreads
Crisp short and real life stories! - Goodreads
That itself ought to speak volumes about the writing. - Goodreads

Review: Nine Lives

User Review  - Ampat Varghese - Goodreads

Another terrific book that does not strain my grey cells but releases endorphins. Have loved William Darlymple ever since I read his "From the Holy Mountain'. Yeah, he is not better than Bruce Chatwin ... Read full review

Review: Nine Lives

User Review  - Sandeepan Mondal - Goodreads

William Dalrymple proves again that he is a master storyteller be it a travelogue or Mughal history. Through this book, he explores nine different stories of unconventional lives, far removed from the ... Read full review

Contents

The Dancer of_Kmnur
29
The Daughters ofYeamma
76
The Red Fairy
109
The Monks Tale
171
file Lady Twilight
199
The Song ofthe Blind Minstrel
226
GLOSSARY 153
253
INDEX 269
268
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

William Dalrymple is the author of six previous acclaimed works of history and travel, including City of Djinns, which won the Young British Writer of the Year Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award; the best-selling From the Holy Mountain; White Mughals, which won Britain’s most prestigious history prize, the Wolfson; and The Last Mughal, which won the Duff Cooper Prize for History and Biography. He divides his time between New Delhi and London, and is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The Guardian.


From the Hardcover edition.

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