Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2009 - India - 284 pages
22 Reviews
A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet - then spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the violence by hand printing the best prayer flags in India. A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her best friend ritually starve to death. A woman leaves her middle-class family in Calcutta, and her job in a jute factory, only to find unexpected love and fulfilment living as a Tantric skull feeder in a remote cremation ground. A prison warden from Kerala becomes, for two months of the year, a temple dancer and is worshipped as a deity; then, at the end of February each year, he returns to prison. An illiterate goet herd from Rajasthan keeps alive an ancient 4,000-line sacred epic that he, virtually alone, still knows by heart. A devadasi - or temple prostitute - initially resists her own initiation into sex work, yet pushes both her daughters into a trade she now regards as a sacred calling. Nine people, nine lives. Each one taking a different religious path, each one an unforgettable story. Exquisite and mesmerising, and told with an almost biblical simplicity, William Dalrymple's first travel book in over a decade explores how traditional forms of religious life in South Asia have been transformed in the region's rapid change. A distillation of twenty-five years of exploring India and writing about its religious traditions, Nine Livesis a modern Indian Canterbury Tales.

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What a wonderful book, fabulously researched. - Goodreads
A brilliant piece of Travel writing! - 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  - Shanmugam - Goodreads

It is easy for an armchair reformist to say, "..superstition, savages…" in between his indigestion and gastric troubles. It is even more easier for a desk job junkie to 'like' a shitty article named ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

William Dalyrmple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth.á He wrote his first book, the highly acclaimed, In Xanadu, when he was twenty-two.á He is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children.á They now divide their time between London and Delhi.

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