Nine Lives

  • by William Dalrymple
  • Narrated by Daniel Philpott
  • 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize 2010. Winner of the 2010 Asia House Award for Asian Literature.
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 herself to death. Nine people, nine lives; each one taking a different religious path, each one an unforgettable story. William Dalrymple delves deep into the heart of a nation torn between the relentless onslaught of modernity and the ancient traditions that endure to this day.


What the Critics Say

"An absolutely beautiful book, clean and honest and edifying and moving. I love so much about it: a delight." (Elizabeth Gilbert)
"Dalrymple's study of people and beliefs in India ranks with the very finest travel writing.... A series of biographies which unpick the rich religious heritage of the subcontinent, it makes its political points more powerfully than any newspaper article and displays deep knowledge of the culture." (Observer)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Dalrymple's book is perfectly decent – sympathetic and informative, though he does rather make all his nine characters sound very like each other. Comes of having to work through interpreters, I suppose, but a good enough job, attentive and respectful. The audio performance, however, is *unforgivably* bad. The generic 'Indian' accents, owing more to Peter Sellers than to any kind of speech actually to be heard in India, were embarrassing enough. But that was a relatively mild problem. Almost no research seemed to have gone into getting the pronunciations of Indian words and place names right: after the first couple of hours, it became almost comic anticipating the next mangling of an Indian name. Rather it would have been comic if weren't so offensive. I don't mean that there were a few mispronunciations here and there – virtually *every* Indian word is mispronounced, the stress inexplicably put on the final syllable (something which almost never happens in Indian languages). Sometimes the reader couldn't even get the consonants in the right order (Ramayana? Ramanaya?) Sometimes he mangled even *English* words (toddy, jaggery) with Indian etymologies. And in the final story, the producers seem to have gone to sleep – failing to cut out his false starts and stammering. A pathetic excuse for an audiobook. Listeners, and the book, deserve better. I'd ask for my money back if I could.
Read full review

- Nakul

Amazing India!

I loved listening to this book, full of amazing detail and educational in so many ways.
Depicts many things that need to change and also which need to be preserved.
I would recommend this to anyone passionate about India!
Read full review

- Medhavi_Patel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 22-09-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios