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The Pathless Sky

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In The Pathless Sky, Chaitali Sen conjures a world in which a nation’s political turmoil, its secret history and growing social unrest turn life into a fragile and capricious thing and love into a necessary refuge to be defended at all cost. A world not unlike the one we live in.
 
John, a hapless young student with a potentially brilliant academic career ahead of him, and M
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Europa Editions
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  97 ratings  ·  24 reviews


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Lori Ostlund
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, beautifully written, nuanced book about the relationship between Mariam and John, which is shaped by the political situation in their country, a country that doesn't really exist, yet does.
Kavita Das
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Late last night I finished Chaitali Sen's A Pathless Sky. It's amazing how vividly she paints a country which goes unnamed and how she populates it with such affecting characters and how much it resonates with all that's going on around us. I can't really do it justice with my own words, at the moment, so I'll use a few lines from the book. Be sure to add this to your summer reading list!

"I don't know what else to call it. Inspirational, maybe. I mean having to do with ideas and aspirations, not
...more
Alice
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A beautiful and absorbing book about how the political situation in a country can influence personal relationships; and how family history influences how political events impact people.
Abeer Hoque
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-recommend
“People are never as afraid as their rulers think they should be,” Vic said. “Every regime finds this out the hard way.”

The Pathless Sky is Chaitali Sen’s debut novel and that much more remarkable for its assured and intense politics and intimacy. In a nameless country, beset by the usual national follies of discrimination, separatism, violence, and tyrannical rule (look no further, America!), John and Mariam meet on a college campus and fall in love. But their relationship is tested again and a
...more
Lisa
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booksburgh-books
Set in a fictional, politically unstable country, The Pathless Sky ultimately is a love story told in evocative prose. The relationships among the characters, both minor and major, kept my book club talking for a long time!

Our discussion was also enhanced by being able to Skype with the author! It was such a treat to discuss how this interesting book came to be.
Anita
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Entrancing love story set in a fictional country. Skillfully weaves together the political and the familial/personal. A beautiful first novel.
Laura
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
The best way to describe this book is that it is a still life portrait. The artistry was amazing, her lyricism held a deep realism but yet still poetic quality to it that was enjoyable. But the subject matter. Boring. Disappointing. Lackluster. The characters did not inspire any form of empathy, John was awful for most of the book, and Mariam...was so unimaginative. There was very little character development for anyone in the story. It centered around the deeply intense love between Mariam and ...more
Robin McMillion
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book took my breath away, and I don't say that about many books. Turbulent times, harrowing experiences. If you've ever asked yourself how you would handle an impossible situation that affects your entire future, this is the book to read. Everybody keep an eye on this writer!
Melanie Reed
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book! I love it so much. It's quietly, steadily awesome - and by the end so affecting. I will recommend it compulsively.
Sekji Ani
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The elegant writing evoked not only visuals and nostalgia for a previous life, but scents, sounds and textures. Take your time and revel in the world created.
Donna Birdwell
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I reviewed this book along with two others on my blog. https://donnadechenbirdwell.com/2018/... ...more
Abeer Hoque
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“People are never as afraid as their rulers think they should be,” Vic said. “Every regime finds this out the hard way.”

The Pathless Sky is Chaitali Sen’s debut novel and that much more remarkable for its assured and intense politics and intimacy. In a nameless country, beset by the usual national follies of discrimination, separatism, violence, and tyrannical rule (look no further, America!), John and Mariam meet on a college campus and fall in love. But their relationship is tested again and a
...more
Suellen

January 2016 Late Night Library Book Club Selection

Author interview:
Late Night Conversation, hosted by Paul Martone
http://latenightlibrary.org/chaitalisen/

The Pathless Sky takes place in an unnamed country that is in political turmoil. Even through all the social unrest John and Mariam find each other and fall in love. They are kept apart through most of the story because of social and political circumstances. They do eventually marry and have a brief period of peace and tranquility. Then Mariam
...more
Susan DeFreitas
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is really quite a lovely book, and though, being a somewhat of a quiet literary love story, it doesn't quite suit my tastes in fiction, I found it compelling, especially in the ways it addresses the intersection of the personal and political. In the end, I told my husband (who never reads books like this but enjoyed it as well), "It's sort of amazing that this is a love story about a passport." A definite eye opener for anyone who's never felt their life's possibilities constrained by their ...more
Karin Mckercher
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure the structure (she started with the smoking gun) worked, and the story was never deeply developed. Twenty pages from the end, my thought was, "Did I miss the climax and the conflict?" There are plenty of challenges, I'm just not sure any one of them was a conflict. It's unclear why the area is under militia control or why Mariam is taken. Lots of missed opportunities to make a story good.
Elizabeth Mcnair
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
This book delves into a couple's nations political turmoil, its secret history and the growing tenseness of their social unrest. The couple meets in college, falls in love and ultimately ends up together. But when the wife can't get a passport, things go downhill from there with their future and their love. An interesting read, but not one of my favorite ones and I felt the husband needed to be stronger as followed their story.
Nandini Roy
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I savored this book. Truly savored. I'm a notorious half-reader of books; if a book doesn't compel me, I'm happy to put it down. But from the beginning of this book I was so engrossed. Reading this book was like revisiting beloved friends-- i just loved Mariam and John, so expertly drawn. The plot, the themes-- I loved it all.
Rayme
Dec 04, 2015 added it
I really enjoyed and recommend this novel. Sen does a great job of modeling a complicated love story on the chassis of brewing political upheaval. This (debut!) novel is a great hybrid of ambitious literary tale and a tight, suspenseful driven story. Europa Editions seems to have the most winning formula I've seen for publishing quality work.
Susanj
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. I don't usually much care for books with fictional settings, but this one was so easy to see and relate to (I thought of it as being maybe in the Caucasus - but I was glad not to have to spend a lot of time googling maps and whatnot). I guess what I liked most was the way the pathos of the politics and the longings of the characters synergized so seamlessly.
Pam Parker
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Pathless Sky is a beautiful love story. We follow a young couple from self-discovery to finding each other and navigating tragedies and political intrigue. Sen deftly creates a fictional country that feels very real. Hard to believe its a debut novel!
Lisa
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: booksburgh
This book details the relationship between John and Mariam over the years paralleled with political conflict in a fictional country. At times it didn't feel like there was a real plot or climax, and I was left with gaps. I liked the writing and was intrigued by the story.
Renee
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Stunning prose and absorbing plot. Highly recommend this wonderful novel.
Sarah Hildebrants
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Dec 01, 2015
Jason Peck
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John Gurney
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Gretchen
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Chaitali Sen is the author of the debut novel, "The Pathless Sky," called by Kirkus Reviews "a searingly vivid portrayal of the depths of human emotions." Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in New England Review, New Ohio Review, Colorado Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, and other journals. She is a graduate of the Hunter College MFA program. Raised in New York and Pennsylvan ...more

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