Reading this book as a companion to TZW was a good choice. Part memoir, part biography of the author's Oxford years spent with his great aunt and uncle, part a memoir of this couple who met in Berlin in the 1930s and merged their disparate lives into a memorable partnership in London. It is memoir and a look at how the 20th century shaped a generation, much as it shaped my own parents.
This is my first reading of a book by this author although I’d certainly heard he was an amazing writer. Now, I can agree. By reading his aunt and uncle’s remarkable stories I thought of my own parents and extended family. How circumstances and changes as people grow older color what may be our earlier impressions. And how we have to step back and let go. There was wisdom in that for me. Thank you, Vikram Seth.
Vikram Seth introduces us to his mother's uncle, Shanti Uncle and his wife, Auntie Hennie when they are already elderly. He goes to live with them when he is seventeen and attending school in London. We follow their lives, both back in time and forward to their deaths, and learn something of their relationship to each other, to each other's family and friends, and to Vikram Seth himself. The second half is in many ways the more affecting in that we are privy to Vikram's deepening understanding, and at the same time bewilderment, at their relationship to each other and at the forces that drove their life decisions. To be included in the last days of his uncle and to share in Vikram's dismay at his uncle's deterioration is moving.
This could also be called "Three Lives", because Mr. Seth discloses a lot about his own life, as it was intertwined with the lives of his uncle and aunt, and their tragic and touching story.
Very well written biography. It is often difficult to write about someone whom you love a nd adore.
Well done job!
The historical review is good as well.
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