Give me a book that has a story weaving around art and nature and you have my unswerving attention !
Once again, it was this cover of watercolour tablets spilling their paint that attracted me to this book. The fact that it is written by Anuradha Roy just added to its allure, having read most of her previous novels as well.
This is a novel in which fiction and history overlap.
Set in the 1930’s when the world in general and India in particular is going through a surge of patriotism. Into this backdrop wanders Gayatri, a vibrant, beautiful free spirited artist, whose heart wants to soar and travel but feet are shackled deeply into domesticity. The tug of war within her has been vividly portrayed by Anuradha.
The novel captures her angst, and that of her son Myshkin, in a staggeringly beautiful way.
How everyone is affected by the decisions we make… How lives change because of them… How you live to regret… How life always remains incomplete, despite our hardest struggles… All this has cemented this beautiful book into what it has become…
‘All the lives we never lived,’ is also a travelogue of sorts. Lovingly creating a space for the reader to bask in, be it in a small hamlet in Bali or a small town in India with its surrounding villages and vibrant culture.
While the language is poised and graceful, the sentences crafted with elegance, it is the underlying skeleton of the story that never leaves you to enjoy every word. There is an ache created, that is palpable… This is a book that is ‘put-downable’ not because it is boring… But because one needs to surface up… To breathe, before plunging back into it again…