Widely acclaimed as one of the world's greatest living writers, Vikram Seth -- author of the international bestseller A Suitable Boy -- tells the heartrending true story of a friendship, a marriage, and a century. Weaving together the strands of two extraordinary lives -- Shanti Behari Seth, an immigrant from India who came to Berlin to study in the 1930s, and Helga Gerda...more
But i felt that the second half of the book which deals with aunty henny and...more
There have been so many moving accounts written of those who perished or survived during the painful years o...more
This beautifully written memoir is one that you will remember, long after you have finished the last word, on the last page. The book is infused with prose that is poetic, sensitive, insightful, and pure. It is one of those memoirs that stay in your heart, in your mind, for a long time to come.
“When I was seventeen I went to live with my great-uncle and great-aunt in England. He was an Indian by origin, she Ger...more
No other author, not even the best one there is, can make his granduncle sound interesting, even if the...more
I love Vikram Seth's novels, and I thought this would be interesting. It was interesting, but here are my criticisms: the story is told haphazardly, especially in the second half of the book. It sometimes seems as though the author took a bunch of documents and pieced them together without much commentary in between. I'm sure he thought about how they would fit together, but he didn't let me (the reader) know. Also, the book was a lot more depressing than I thought I would be. It wa...more
If I hadn't been such a fan of the author, however, I'm not sure the presentation of the characte...more
Vikram Seth erzählt in diesem Buch die Geschichte seines Onkels Shanti und seiner Tante Henny, bei denen er als Jugendlicher längere Zeit wohnte und zu denen er so lange sie lebten eine ganz besondere Bindung hatte. Er beginnt die Geschichte mit seinen persönlichen Erfahrungen und beschreibt im ersten Teil seine Zeit mit Henny und Shanti. Mit H...more
It was interesting. Really quite remarkable in characters, places and time. Reading of the Holocaust from the letters and accounts of those affected makes this more poignant. I liked the goodhearted feelings of family for one another sensed in Shanti's Indian family as well as Henny's. Vikram Seth weaves the story of these two apparently very different people from his love for them, what they meant to him as well as his interviews and disc...more
I didn't know it was a 500-pages tome until I eventually held it in my hands. Somewhat reluc...more
The Two Lives are those of the author's great uncle Shanti and great aunt Henny, who lived in Hendon when he knew them, but had met in Berlin before the Second World War. She was a Jewish native of Berlin. He was an Indian student of dentistry with connections in Britain.
Seth describes his dealings with the couple as he became friends with them as their lodger when he was studying in England. But the book is principally an account of their own relationship, whic...more
Neither Shanti Uncle nor Aunt Henny became famous - they lived fairly quiet lives after the war - but it's a testament to Seth's talent as an author that I...more
"I want [Shanti and Henny] complexly remembered," Seth writes. "I want to mark them true." Seth meets this goal. Two Lives, a biography and record of pre- and postwar life, is at heart a story about two individuals that fate and urgency__more than romantic love, perhaps__thrust together. Relying on interviews and Henny's gut-wrenching letters from the 1940s and 1950s, Seth reinterprets Germany's war years and depicts Shanti's struggle to establish a dental practice and the couple's deep friendsh...more
During the course of his doctorate studies at Stanford, he did his field work in China and translated Hindi and Chinese poetry into English. He returned to Delhi via Xinjiang and Tibet which led to a travel narrative From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983) which won...more