My Beloved Life: A novel (Hardcover)

My Beloved Life: A novel By Amitava Kumar Cover Image
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An absorbing, exceptionally moving novel that traces the arc of a man’s life, an ordinary life made exceptional by the fact that he has loved and has been loved in turn

Jadunath Kunwar’s beginnings are humble, even inauspicious. In 1935 in a village near George Orwell’s birthplace, Jadu’s mother, while pregnant with him, nearly dies from a cobra bite. When we see Jadu again, he is in college, meeting the Sherpa who first summited Everest and wondering what it means to be modern. As his life skates between the mythical and the mundane, and as changes big and small sweep across India, Jadu finds meaning in the most unexpected places. He befriends poets and politicians. He becomes a historian. And he has a daughter, Jugnu, a television journalist with a career in the United States—whose own story recasts the past in a new light. Piercing, fleet-footed, and undeniably resonant, here is a novel from a singularly gifted writer about how we tell stories and write history, how individuals play a counterpoint to big movements, how no single life is without consequence.

About the Author

AMITAVA KUMAR was born in Ara, India, and grew up in the nearby town of Patna. He is the author of the novel Immigrant, Montana, as well as several other books of nonfiction and fiction. He lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, and teaches at Vassar College.

Praise For…

“Above all, [Amitava Kumar] new novel is deeply human; the heart is everywhere in these pages. It is easily the best thing Kumar has written . . . Its astonishing details sit in the text like little coiled stories, pointedly revealed but not overpoweringly unpacked by the writer . . . Kumar’s details have the vitality of invention and the resonance of the real . . . His beautiful, truthful fiction rings with all the gratitude and anticipated grief that he expressed in 2002, in Bombay London New York, when both of his parents were still alive . . . This novel finds and provides great strength—too late for Kumar’s parents, but in good time for his grateful readers.”
—James Wood, The New Yorker

“This profound book is full of lives whose beauty lies in the wholeness of their telling. A father, a daughter, a crime, a country being born, a migration, another country, a plague. ‘We are in touch with a great astonishing mystery when we put honest words down on paper to register a life and to offer witness. Everything else is ordinary,’ Kumar writes. His novel offers magnificent witness, and is not ordinary but extraordinary.” —Salman Rushdie

“What makes a life? My Beloved Life addresses this most fundamental of questions with all of Amitava Kumar’s trademark wisdom and wit. A novel of vaulting ambition and tenderness, about how histories, both personal and national, are built, refracted, and revised.” —Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies

My Beloved Life is storytelling at its best . . . A moving collection of memories and experiences entangled with world history . . . Imagine finding yourself in the company of a stranger. A simple hello organically morphs into hours of conversation, full of resonating and enlightening stories. This is the feeling one gets while reading My Beloved Life.” BookPage (starred)
“An immersive, moving portrait that steadily gains intensity, vividness, and surprise . . . It pays tribute to two people who make noticing, attentiveness, and storytelling the central pillars of their lives.” Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Kumar unfurls a majestic Indian family saga in successive bildungsroman narratives of a father and daughter . . . A stunning final chapter sheds new light on their stories . . . Kumar excels at blending mysticism and a refined cosmopolitan perspective . . . Readers will find much to savor.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593536063
ISBN-10: 0593536061
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: February 27th, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English