In this tender, lyrical and often funny novel, Anjali Joseph, author of Saraswati Park, shines a light on everyday life, illuminating its humour, beauty and truth.
There is a certain number of breaths each of us has to take, and no amount of care or carelessness can alter that.
This is the story of two lives. Claire is a young single mother working in one of England's last remaining shoe factories, her adult life formed by a teenage relationship. Is she ready to move on from memory and the routine of her days? Arun makes hand-sewn chappals at his home in Kolhapur. A recovered alcoholic, now a grandfather, he negotiates the newfound indignities of old age while returning in thought to the extramarital affair he had years earlier.
These are lives woven through with the ongoing discipline of work and the responsibility and tedium of family life. Lives laced with the joys of friendship, the pleasure of sex, and the redemptive kindness of one's own children. This is the story of the living. In this tender, lyrical and often funny novel, Anajli Joseph, author of Saraswati Park, shines a light on everyday life, illuminating its humour, beauty and truth.
"A beautiful and profound book that distills, with uncanny precision and truthfulness, the flow and movement of inner lives deep under the surface of things. Joseph has dug at one of the hardest spots in the terrain of form and come up with a luminous and rare jewel." (Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others
Praise for Anjali Joseph: "Joseph contrasts the inner and outer lives of her characters, and the uneasy friction between new and old cultures, with all the wit and delicacy of a latter-day Mrs Gaskell." (The Times)
"Joseph writes beautifully about quietness and stillness...this is a quiet, restrained novel but a great deal is going on beneath the surface." (Sunday Times)
"How true to life it seems - the background of disconsolate rains and chattering mynah birds entirely Bombay, the preoccupations universal...a generous book where absolutes are neither sought nor found." (Guardian)
"Each character quickly feels like a familiar face, making this like The Corrections, but set in India...a treat." (Elle)
"An unhurried, quietly heartbreaking study of a lower middle-class Bombay family's disintegration and renewal...Joseph's skill is finding the poetry inside modest dreams, small tragedies and disappointments." (Metro)
"Joseph has an unerring instinct for detail that brings a scene to life.... Her descriptions are gorgeously vivid." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Joseph's writing is rich and original. She can describe silences and what is left unsaid between her characters just as well as she describes what they do and say." (Observer)
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