The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in student unrest, agitation, extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note.
The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unraveling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider. Ambitious, rich and compassionate, The Lives of Others unfolds a family history and anatomizes a social class in all its contradictions. It asks: Can we escape what is in our blood? How do we imagine our place amongst others in the world? Can that be reimagined? And at what cost? This is a novel of rare power and emotional force.