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Freedom Song

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  236 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A boy spends a summer and a winter with his parents in a Bombay high-rise, and spends other summers in Calcutta immersed in the more traditional life of his uncle's extended family ... A young man at Oxford, whose memories of home in Bombay bring both comfort and melancholy, faces a choice between "clinging to my Indianness, or letting it go, between being nostalgic or loo ...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Picador (first published January 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 696)
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Feb 18, 2015 Siddharth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
A few quick thoughts about this lovely, lovely, book:

If The Golden Gateis a novel in verse, this is poetry in prose. And just as evocative!

Tinkling sounds came from outside, of hammering and chiselling, as labourers worked like bees, and seven- or eight-storeyed buildings rose in the place of ancestral mansions that had been raised cruelly to the ground, climbing up like ladders through screens of dust. An old mansion opposite the veranda had been repainted white, to its last banister and pillar
Three short stories which are connected by all clearly being based on the author's barely fictionalized personal experiences. There's not much plot here, or change, or character development, or any of that sort of thing. At least the writer is doing it on purpose, as he describes early on in the first story:

But why did these houses- for instance, that one with the tall, ornate iron gates and a watchman dozing on a stool, which gave the impression that the family had valuables locked away inside,
Felice Picano
Aug 31, 2015 Felice Picano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read the three short novels included in this volume over the past three year taking my time to savor the author's writing, world-view and his very localized stories, whether they are Indian emigres in America, or still at home. Just completed Freedom Song, the longest and last,and I'm reminded all over again what a terrific writer Chaudhuri is. This is a family saga told in short --sometimes only half a page long--chapters, It has the feeling of a Virginia Woolf novel, oddly enough, or of a ...more
Afternoon Raag is a strangely beguiling novella despite the fact that the plot doesn't amount to much, the structure is wishy washy and the characters don't really develop at all. Despite these considerable handicaps, it held my attention.
Jan 03, 2011 Isabell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite finished with it yet, but I had to drop by to share a quick WOW. Just WOW. I wish I could say something more descriptive, but this novel (three novellas, actually) has left me completely speechless.
Tridib Chowdhury
May 22, 2015 Tridib Chowdhury rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book and was treated to 230 odd pages of unassuming yet masterful prose that floated poetically through the quaint alleys of Calcutta. Amit Choudhuri reveals subtle idiosyncracies of otherwise ordinary characters with, what seems to me, his characteristic effortlessness.

The Freedom Song is a blend of 3 serene nouvellas that entwine together and then drift apart while still keeping a touching distance. They may not have pulsating plots, but that was never what the author was goi
Andy Jackson
Jan 14, 2013 Andy Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, fiction
Vivid, compassionate, textured and beautiful writing, with only as much "story" as our own lives have.
Tracey Hook
Apr 05, 2016 Tracey Hook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First heard about this book while in Bombay doing research for my thesis. All three riveting stories are filled with lushness, color, sound, and the intimacy of close-knit families. Some characters hold steadfast to tradition while others, within the same family break free from them often causing conflict and despair. The beauty of India envelopes the reader, taking him/her into a world filled with movement and a stillness that awakens the senses.
Piers Moore Ede
Jan 03, 2015 Piers Moore Ede rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amit Chaudhuri's languorous, moment-by-moment prose is, to my mind, the perfect match for the country he describes. His pen illuminates the quotidian moments of everyday Indian life, giving them an almost sacred poignancy. He's a fine story teller, too, but for me it's the quality of his writing, and a sense of the numinous, which remains when I put down his books. This trilogy is my favourite of his work, and I read it again and again.
Jul 06, 2014 T. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the first book in this trilogy, "A Strange and Sublime Address." I could not get interested in the second two.
May 21, 2013 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the first of the three but can't get into the second and third at this time. The stories are beautiful tone poems, almost musical compositions, filled with sensual details and wonderfully rendered atmospheres - which I do like, but can't seem to concentrate on when my plate is full of kitchen remodel tasks, conversations, details, upsets, etc. I need something more narrative at the moment but may well come back to Chaudhuri's dreamy books in another season.
Katie M.
Feb 08, 2008 Katie M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
The only reason this book gets 3 stars instead of 4 is because it took me so darn long to wade through. It was one of those beautiful, dreamy, atmospheric, stream-of-consciousness novels (three short novels, actually) that made me feel like I was inside a sharply-focused photograph but not quite smart enough to pick up all the subtext. Chaudhuri does lovely things with language.
Jul 28, 2015 Lysergius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contains three novels, "A Strange and Sublime Address", "Afternoon Raag" and "Freedom Song" which describe everyday life in modern India. These novels are beautifully written in a flowing sonorous prose. The incidents described are the small things that make up life, combined with reflections on the passage of life and its meanings.

Three short stories. The first one was mainly just images of a child's visit to relatives in Calcutta. Subtle but interesting peek into someone else's everyday life. However, I gave up halfway through the second story. I guess I'm just not in the mood right now to continue. I may try this again some other time.
Peter Zalmayev
Jul 07, 2015 Peter Zalmayev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
poetic, evocative, dreamlike, gorgeous
lyrical portrayal of middle class life in Calcutta.
it's good points were its sense of slowness, but there was no real plot that made it seem aimless.
Jun 21, 2011 Nohreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Chaudhuri gives a thorough insight into the life of the Indian culture in three different novellas. The writing style is beautiful and free-flowing.
Jun 20, 2011 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
All of the Bengalis I've ever met are more interesting than all of these characters. The three novels got progressively more boring.
Jun 02, 2010 Pushpa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Eminently unreadable. I finally put it down and went on to some other book. Nowhere close to 'The Strange and Sublime Address".
Jan 09, 2010 Wayne marked it as gave-up  ·  review of another edition
just not a time in my life to read something so meditative and slow moving...i would like to come back to it later in life
Shaoli Datta
Good in parts since they brought back some images of my childhood and hence made me nostalgic.
Jul 28, 2007 Radhika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like vikram seth
Has a fantastic lyric style of writing. Awaiting more novels from this author.
Lathika marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2016
Adnan Zuberi
Adnan Zuberi rated it it was ok
Jun 23, 2016
Ravneet marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2016
Kelly marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2016
Anirudhya rated it liked it
Jun 09, 2016
Sam marked it as to-read
Jun 06, 2016
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Amit Chaudhuri was born in Calcutta in 1962, and grew up in Bombay. He read English at University College, London, where he took his BA with First Class Honours, and completed his doctorate on critical theory and the poetry of D.H. Lawrence at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was a Dervorguilla Scholar. He was Creative Arts Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, from 1992-95, and Leverhulme Special R ...more
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