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An Atlas of Impossible Longing

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  2,083 Ratings  ·  299 Reviews
On the outskirts of a small town in Bengal, a family lives in solitude in their vast new house. Here, lives intertwine and unravel. A widower struggles with his love for an unmarried cousin. Bakul, a motherless daughter, runs wild with Mukunda, an orphan of unknown caste adopted by the family. Confined in a room at the top of the house, a matriarch goes slowly mad; her hus ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Free Press (first published 2008)
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mai ahmd
Dec 25, 2014 mai ahmd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
هل للحنين أطلس نعم إن كان له صورا وأشكال وفي الرواية كان للحنين اشكالا عدة على مدى أجيال ثلاثة تعاقبت على الرواية عاشت فترة الاستعمار البريطاني ثم الاضطرابات السياسية التي غزت الهند وأدت إلى انقسامها إنها رواية الطبقات الاجتماعية ونظرة المجتمع تجاه المنبوذ ، رواية الحب والخيانة رواية الإنسان والعائلة إن تاريخ هذه العائلة البنغالية هو جزء من تاريخ الهند ..

منذ اللحظة الأولى يشدك السرد فلا تصدق أن هذه الروائية تكتب الرواية للمرة الأولى فهي محترفة في بناء شخصياتها .. روي أعطت لكل شخصية نصيبها من ال
...more
Vesela
Feb 14, 2017 Vesela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Тази книга беше за мен една изключително приятна изненада. Прекрасна семейна сага и портрет на Индия и индийското общество и нрави в периода от 20-те до 50-те години на XX век.
За мен е тя в пъти по-добра като стил и повествование от "Оризовата майка". На моменти ми напомняше стила на Маркес в известни моменти (без магическите елементи ), както и на "Богът на дребните неща".
Не знам какви още книги ще прочета през тази година, но "Атлас на невъзможния копнеж" определено ще ми е в топ 5 на година
...more
Sarah ~
Dec 24, 2015 Sarah ~ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, ebook, 2015
أطلس الحنين المستحيل .. أنورادا روي


تدور أحداث الرواية في الهند بين عامي 1920 و1950 .وعلى لسان ثلاث شخصيات تتواصل أحداث الرواية
الحياة في الريف والعلاقات العائلية ، التعقيدات الإجتماعية ، لاحقاً الحياة في العاصمة ، والعلاقات بين الطوائف الدينية والجو العام قبل الإستقلال وانقسام شبه القارة الهندية إلى دولتين : الهند وباكستان .
بما فيها الحياة الإقتصادية والبنية التحتية والتجارة والتاريخ والتعليم وغيرها .
وعلاقات طويلة ومعقدة حيناً حب صداقة واحترام وإمتنان ..وحيناً آخر كره وحقدٌ وغدر .
وفي ما يزيد عن
...more
Ebtihal Abuali
Nov 27, 2015 Ebtihal Abuali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia
تنجح روي في القبض على اهتمامي من اول الرواية والاحتفاظ به مشتعلا حتى النهاية. هذه قصة عن الحب أولا، وعن الارواح الهائمة في متاهات سعيا وراء الاهتمام وخلف حب لا تستطيع ادراكه لأسباب تختلف، من الفروق الطبقية كما هو الحال مع موكوندا اليتيم مجهول الابوين، أو من الألم المضن للفقد كما هو الأمر مع نيرمال العاجز عن احتواء ابنته الصغيرة، أو من العادات الاجتماعية كما هو الأمر مع ميرا الأرملة التي لا يمكنها وضع احتمال ان تنشأ علاقة مع قريبها موضع التصديق. يزدحم البيت بعواطفهم المحبوسة، تقودهم الاحداث مرة ق ...more
Neeraja S
Jun 14, 2011 Neeraja S rated it it was amazing
Seeking solitude and a niche for himself, Amulya moves to the idyllic village of Songarh, and sets up a factory that manufactures authentic herbal potions from the unique plants of the region. As much as Amulya appreciates Songarh, his family, especially his wife, dearly misses the bustling life of Calcutta. Her loneliness is an implacable longing. The longing starts there. Each person has his or her own deep longing, and grapples to fill the void caused by it. Due to the stringent rules imposed ...more
cecilia
When I took note of this book, I had mistook the author as the one who had written The God Of Small Things. In case you are in the same pickle, these are different authors - the other being Arundhati Roy. Close, but not the same. And it becomes obvious when I opened to the first page of An Atlas Of Impossible Longing when typical prose greets me instead of the lyrical joie de vivre of words that The God Of Small Things had.

But this is not supposed to be a comparison piece. So I'll get on with th
...more
Elizabeth Joseph
Apr 11, 2013 Elizabeth Joseph rated it really liked it
It requires a bit of courage and ability to write a sad story without actually making the reader depressed. I think that is the most commendable part of Anuradha Roy's writing.

This book makes you sad, but it is not depressing. And I loved the Bengali village scenario and the pre-Independence era portrayed set in West Bengal.

One of the best novels written in an Indian setting :)

Verdict: Great Read.
Fleme Varkey
Oct 17, 2012 Fleme Varkey rated it liked it
An atlas of impossible longing happened just naturally for author Anuradha Roy. The novel grew out of an image of a large house half-submerged by a river. It was a haunting photograph of an actual house that had to be abandoned by her aunt’s family.

The book starts in 1907 and goes right up to the 1950s. It traces in its pages the lives and travails of a family over three generations. Amulya is quite a reticent man. A visit to a small town of Sonagarh changes his perception completely. He feels a
...more
Brenda Youngerman
Mar 22, 2011 Brenda Youngerman rated it it was amazing
An Atlas of Impossible Longing by by Anuradha Roy is without a doubt the best book I have read in the past six months! It is the kind of book that stays with you throughout the day. The kind of book that resonates within your mind as you think, feel, breathe, do your daily chores. The kind of book that makes you stop and take notice of things around you that you would not otherwise stop and take notice of.

An Atlas of Impossible Longing is really three books in one telling stories of three distin
...more
Jennifer Rayment
The Good Stuff

* Beautifully almost lyrically written.
* The landscape feels so real you could reach out and touch it.
* You can feel the authors love for the countryside
* This is not my sort of book, so please if you think you will like it, go get it, the author has talent. Check out the more positive reviews from other people listed below
* Some light humour - enjoyed the swearing bird

The Not so Good Stuff

* This one was a painful read for me as I just couldn't get into it, but too stubborn
...more
Neha
May 16, 2011 Neha rated it really liked it
What if a book offers you all those things which you have read and liked.. .. that is what this book brought for me... a Bengali author, setting of 1920s India, serenity of rural Bengal, hustle-bustle and noise of Calcutta, old mansions, story of three generations, family feuds, partition and Hindu Muslim relationships and fading British era,... All this sounded clichés but the newness of this novel is what makes it unique. Each aspect, character and moment is so well thought and well phrased th ...more
Ritu
May 03, 2011 Ritu rated it it was amazing
An excellent book! Very well written! The story line had me mesmerized. I empathised with all the characters which means that the author captured the essence of the person. One could see the progression of insanity in Kananbala and understand why she became how she did. I liked the beginning more than the ending. It is a love story and I wonder if the author tried to rush into ending the story at the end. I was dissapointed that Mukanda did not do more for Suleiman Khan. Mukanda did come out as ...more
IncRead
Sep 20, 2015 IncRead rated it really liked it
A simple, well-narrated story set in the modern day West Bengal, starting in Colonial India of the 1920s, and ending in the 50s. I got a glimpse of the ordinary lives without much mention of the political upheaval of those days, except for a passing mention of the partition. I got acquainted with a myriad of characters; Mukunda- the orphan, Bakul his playmate, and Nirmal Babu, her father , staying fresh in my memory. Loved the cultural and regional cuisine references.
Hajarali
Jun 16, 2016 Hajarali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
جميلة وخلال ٥٠٠ صفحة لايمكن للملل أن يتسلل إليك بل شيئا ما يجذبك إليها ربما كمية الحنين فيها..
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it really liked it
An Atlas of Impossible Longing - The title of this book alone drew me in; that and I'm partial to books about India. This is a fine book on many levels and I was not disappointed. It's a multigenerational novel, a great love story, a cross-cultural learning experience, and a book about yearning, hope, loss, money and betrayal. It captures the big themes of life and does a great job of keeping the reader turning the pages.

The story starts out in 1907 when Amulya takes his family from Calcutta to
...more
Laurie
Apr 03, 2011 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It did not end the way I expected.

And the last part is best in this modestly-paced novel of 20th century India.

In An Atlas of Impossible Longing, publisher-writer Anuradha Roy (not to be confused with Arundati Roy, author of The God of Small Things) traces one family's dysfunction through three generations, offering up a tale of caste and ill-fated love and decaying houses. It begins with patriarch Amulya's decision to move from Calcutta to a small town in Bengal to build a stately home in the
...more
Denis
Jul 26, 2016 Denis rated it really liked it
Many adjectives come to mind when reading Anuradha Roy’s novel. Exquisite is one of them. And also: bittersweet. Evocative. Poignant. Intimate. Masterful. Delicate. I would even say “magical”, but that adjective has been overused again and again to the point of becoming suspiciously empty of meaning. The title of the novel gives away the wistful atmosphere and tone of the book: An Atlas of Impossible Longing is a family saga filled with such melancholy and evanescent sadness that they imbue each ...more
Book Him Danno
This book is filled with longing and heartache. From the beginning the wife’s hatred for her new home just hurt to read. Moving from a large busy city to a small rural community is hard on her and yet her husband takes no notice. The children and the marriages of those children were happy occasions that a few years later would suddenly fill with loss. The mother loses her mind in the process of all this misery. Will any of the people in this house be happy?

The description of the homes, ruins,
...more
Kavyen
Apr 06, 2011 Kavyen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was enjoyable. Of course there were no earth shattering events or extreme drama but it was the story of a normal family. A busy dad Amulya, his wife Kananbala so affected by loneliness that she almost goes insane, the eldest daughter-in-law Manjula who yearns to have a child of her own, the youngest son and archaeologist by profession Nirmal, Bakul his daughter and the almost adopted child of the family Mukunda. I enjoyed that the book was essentially 3 stories written as if they were ...more
Mmars
Nov 13, 2011 Mmars rated it really liked it
Occasionally a reader finds a book that suits one's pleasure, not as in leisurable pleasure, but in style and substance. First off, it's well written. Second, it's well edited and published. The cast of characters in front and glossary in back were wise additions. Thirdly, the story is interesting, compelling and intelligent. And fourth, Roy uses ingenuity that works - in switching point of view in the third section. At first I found this jarring, but somehow she made it work. Wonderful characte ...more
Michelle
I've just finished this book, which I read cover-to-cover in about 4 days.

I thoroughly enjoyed the read: the book is well-written, the story engaging, and it proved to be a good companion during hot, crowded bus trips and late, sleepless nights in South India. (I suspect that the story was engaging partially because I read it in India; something about reading a book where it takes place makes a reader more engaged, makes one feel like the story is much more alive...)

That said, I'm not sure I am
...more
Suzanne
May 25, 2014 Suzanne rated it it was ok
"An Atlas of Impossible Longing" is a title that draws a reader's interest. Set in India during the mid- 20th century the novel tells the story of loves lost in a culture of occupation under the Raj, revolution, Partition and Independence. The descriptions of taste, of smell, of heat, rankness and rot, are beautifully written and reflective of India. ( the glossary at the end helps those of us unfamiliar with terms and references). Nonetheless the "impossibility" of the longing, the relentlessne ...more
Neil
Oct 04, 2015 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
Don't you just love a book that gets better page by page? As I started this book, I thought it was just another Indian family saga. And so it seemed for perhaps almost the first half. It was good, I was enjoying reading it, but it wasn't special. Then things changed and the second half of the book went up a level.

All the way through, the characters in this book feel alive and real. And so do the places. It is excellent writing. But once the story starts to focus on one specific character (no spo
...more
Hilary G
Dec 05, 2012 Hilary G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of Anuradha Roy when I picked up this book, but I am glad to have found her. Reading the book is like being transported to the India she describes, with all its sights, sounds and smells. The story alludes to the effects of many old Indian customs (which may well still exist) and, while the impact of these often blights people's lives, this is not a dreary book. The tone of the book is gentle and sympathetic. I believe Anuradha Roy likes her characters, despite all their idiosy ...more
Linda
Feb 10, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2013
This multigenerational family saga that takes place in India during the early- to mid-20th century was a pleasant surprise. The plot was intriguing, the characters were well developed, and I learned a lot about the Indian culture during that period. The author thoughtfully provided a cast of characters in the beginning for reference (the names were confusing and hard to tell apart), as well as a glossary of many of the unfamiliar words, both of which helped immensely with my overall comprehensio ...more
Doug
Nov 15, 2013 Doug rated it it was amazing
I read this several years ago, but having recently finished Roy's new Booker-nominated 'Sleeping on Jupiter', I wanted to re-visit it. It didn't disappoint. It's a deeply moving and beautifully written saga that covers the history of a Bengali family over 3 or 4 decades. The prose is astonishing accomplished, the characters vivid and varied, and doesn't betray any of the foibles common to a first novel.
Rita
Jul 30, 2015 Rita rated it liked it
Mooi en meeslepend, maar soms ook moeilijk invoelbaar boek. Het verhaal is prachtig, ook de kaste-problemen en de landschappen worden beeldend en helder beschreven. Maar die 2 hoofdpersonen goed volgen of begrijpen deed ik niet altijd helemaal; er stond (bijv.) wel dát ze zo verliefd waren, maar waarom en hoe en wat.... Nou ja, o.a. daar was wat meer 'show don't tell' wel op z'n plaats geweest.
Gail Cohen
Nov 20, 2011 Gail Cohen rated it liked it
Readable but not the Rushdie-like books I was longing for (perhaps that's impossible).
Felicity
Mar 17, 2017 Felicity rated it it was amazing
I totally recommend this beautifully written book by one of my favorite authors. For me the ending is a little less than perfect. Perhaps a bit to wrapped up nicely - but overall I rate it very highly and recommend it. Here is a critique of the book from my book group:

"Our discussion of An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy (India) on Wednesday night was especially lively and engaging. We covered a wide range of topics, posing (and answering) some intriguing questions about the nature o
...more
Roxanne
Apr 07, 2011 Roxanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review below was originally published on my blog, Unintentionally Brilliant.

Despite the fact that it took me the better part of a month to finish, An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy is a beautiful and poetic first novel. It's the story of three generations of a family in India that explores themes of home, family and love.

Anuradha's descriptive prose gives the reader a wonderful opportunity to explore the beauty, as well as the cultures, of India. Since the book spans three generatio
...more
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Anuradha Roy was educated in Hyderabad, Calcutta and Cambridge (UK). She is an editor at Permanent Black, an independent press publishing in South Asian history, politics and culture. She lives mainly in Ranikhet, India, with her husband Rukun Advani and their dog, Biscoot.
More about Anuradha Roy...

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“A veritable atlas. What rivers of desire, what mountains of ambition. Want, want, hope, hope, this is what your palm say, your palm is nothing but an atlas of impossible longings.” 7 likes
“A veritable atlas. What rivers of desire, what mountains of ambition! Want, want, hope, hope. Your palm is nothing but an atlas of impossible longings. Nothing but longing.” 0 likes
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