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Latitudes of Longing

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,757 ratings  ·  573 reviews
‘Intense, lyrical, and powerful … This is a remarkable debut.’ – Jeet Thayil

An astounding exploration of intense longings, Shubhangi Swarup’s novel begins in the depths of the Andaman Sea, and follows geological and emotional faultlines through the Irrawaddy delta and the tourist-trap of Thamel, to end amidst the highest glaciers and passes of the Karakorams. The story sw
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published July 25th 2018 by HarperCollins India
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤
Have you ever ached over something so beautiful it took your breath away? A waterfall perhaps or a brilliant sunset, or maybe a poem.  

Latitudes of Longing left me reeling, weighted under the sheer beauty of its prose. It swept me off my feet and left me breathless.

Author Shubhangi Swarup captivated me with her writing. Her words are written with such beauty and cadence. They dance off the page and into your heart. 

Often this style of writing comes across as overly sentimental and turns me off.
Rakhi Dalal
What can you say of a work which stuns you with the lyrical intensity of its prose right through to the middle and then makes you shift uneasily in your place as you try to understand the wayward course the narrative assumes further thereby letting you suddenly jerk from your stupor and making you want to skip some pages because the prose feels all too repetitive providing no reprieve till the end.

For a debut work, the author's style is worthy of praise. I loved how the writing seemed almost ef
Reading_ Tamishly
I should not struggle while reading a good book.

For this one, I was wishing for it to end soon, and I was just struggling to finish it up asap.

One of those few books which I wanted to read till the end and see what the big deal was about.

Nothing much is there to say that it could have been much better. The writing is fine. But too slow and moody for me. It keeps changing and the characters keep fleeting here and there in your mind that you just cannot hold them in your head while reading about
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book this was!! Easily one of the best books I have read till date.
This book is divided in four sections, Islands, Faultline, Valley and Snow desert.
It covers a vast canvas from the Andamans, Burma(Myanmar), Nepal and the no man's land separating India and Pakistan.
Each page has been written with such conviction, laden with description which makes it very lyrical. Reading it felt like the oceans and mountains coming together and narrating a beautiful story. It felt like I was
Resh (The Book Satchel)
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous read. I have SO MANY thoughts. Definitely recommended!

This debut novel, a series of four connected stories, Islands, Faultline, Valley, and Snow Desert, was originally published in India in 2018, and takes the reader on a journey through South Asia and through time.

5 Stars
Islands tells the story of a newly married couple, Giriji Prasad and Chanda Devi living on a tropical island, where silence is the relentless sound of water. The waves, like your own breaths, never leave you. For a fortnight now, the gurgle and thunder of clouds has drowned out t
Roman Clodia
When Girija Prasad first came here, he arrived believing in halftruths like "no man is an island." It has taken him a year to realise that no island is an island either. It is part of a greater geological pattern that connects all the lands and oceans of the world.

This is one of those books that both heralds a debut author's vast talent, and yet also fails to capitalise on it. Swarup is nothing if not ambitious but this is also her downfall as the four sections of the book become decreasingl
Khyati Gautam
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Latitudes of Longing is a lyrical debut that definitely marks the arrival of a fantastic literary talent. Covering a vast expanse of land, people, and numerous stories, this book has everything to offer you. It is astonishing, riveting, emotionally enriched, and wonderfully crafted!
A book filled with varied life-forms ranging from turtle to humans, a book comprising different landscapes – from Andamans to the Karakoram passes, a book which speaks many stories – of a clairvoyant lady to the one e
Lou (nonfiction fiend)
Latitudes of Longing is nothing short of an exquisite tour de force and a sparkling debut full of originality and the pep and pizazz of natures bounty. This marks the start of a powerful and masterful new literary voice and one of the most beautiful and profound reads of the past few years for me. I went into this not knowing much more about it than the synopsis and some spoiler-free reviews and I recommend going in as blind as possible in order to gain maximum enjoyment; I think it’s really qui ...more
Mansi Mudgal
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Latitudes of Longing is a book that is beautiful and lyrical, something that is read and savoured slowly to fully immerse oneself in this journey; a journey that spans a few decades or thousands of years? We must find out ourselves.

The story follows the life of Girija Prasad, a man and a scientist in Andaman Islands in the newly independent India. It talks of the inhabitants in this place and the surrounding environment. Nature or to be more specific “Earth” is the binding as well as connecting
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Splendid novel that moves smoothly - highly recommended for all types of readers.
Mar 14, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2022
This book has been sitting on my to read shelf for a while, so I was glad when it was chosen for a discussion by the 21st Century Literature group this month. Its scope is undoubtedly bold - it mixes history, geology, folk tales, magic realism and pure fantasy in an epic tale in four loosely connected parts set around India's borders, and more specifically the edges of the Indian continental plate in the Andaman Islands, Burma, Nepal and Ladakh.

The writing is exuberant if a little too obviously
Hannah Greendale
Jul 24, 2020 marked it as dnf
Shelves: literary-fiction
DNF at page 68.
Renee Godding
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

"All of us are burdened by the twin destinies of saying goodbye to our loved ones and departing from our loved ones ourselves. Let this not obliterate the greater destiny we all share - the fleeting moments we have together."

Latitudes of Longing first drew my attention with it stunning title and cover upon release, and has been constantly on my radar ever since. For some reason it was very difficult for me to get my hands on it where I live, so it took me a long time to actu
Nidhi Mahajan
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Originally posted on my blog.

An Origin Story: Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

In the Acknowledgements of her debut novel, Latitudes of Longing, Shubhangi Swarup writes that her muse is “our unassuming planet, a being that bears more beauty, magic and resilience than this human mind can fathom.” It took Swarup about seven years to somewhat gauge this being and paint a picture of it in words.

Latitudes of Longing comprises four interconnected stories, though numerous human and non-human cha
Sailee Dhole
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Picked it up because of so many great reviews about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the first part. It’s beautifully written and the plot line is excellent. But the book seemed to drag in the second part and completely lost me by the third part. It seemed the author was trying too hard to insert metaphors which flowed so seamlessly in the first part. Started with high hopes but disappointed.
Aaaaah, what a beautiful BEAUTIFUL book. I can not recommend this enough.

A debut novel of Shubhangi Swarup, the prose and the thought behind this book just swept me away. Full of love, loss, family, friendship and everything in between - this book had me hooked in just the first few pages.

Broken into four parts, each part uncovers the lives of different people in different parts of the Indian subcontinent. But you'll see as time goes by that everything is connected. My favourite will always be
Surabhi Chatrapathy
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites, fiction
I love books that stretch my imagination, books that hold my attention and tie me to a chair until I finish it. Latitudes of Longings was one such book for me.

Every page is written  from the depths of a deep meditation. As though the ocean bed has paitently stitched this novel together over centuries. The movement is so subtle, that you could easily miss it. 

I feel as though I've seen, touched and spoken to the soul of the Andaman Islands. They seemed to have poured their deepest secrets into w
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Latitudes of Longing, took me from the Andamans to Burma, from an earthquake to a tsunami, from a lady who talks to ghosts and trees to a man who loves her. Unfortunately, as the rugged geographical transition continued, I couldn't keep up to reach the last two chapters which take the readers to Nepal and the Karakoram mountains. Why? The writing was too rugged for me and the over usage of wayward flowery language in every second line, drained me. As much as I wanted to continue reading, the sto ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Random House One World, via NetGalley, for this advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

The settings of the Andaman Islands, Burma, Kathmandu, and the Karakoram Mountains immediately ticked off my boxes.  These four interlinked stories are beautifully written, richly imagined, and intricately plotted.  Overwhelmingly, the book has a mood that evokes faraway tales, deep emotions, warm recognition, and breathless awe. The first story, about 40% of the book, is the most aff
Aditi Jaiswal
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
She dreamt of the strange inhabitants of different cosmic realms whose emotions are shone with exceptional clarity in the blurred longing. The place maybe be an Island or snow dessert but the muse of this novel is in its white pages with black ink that bears more beauty and magic than a human mind can fathom.

Truly the author is a gifted writer, her imagination carry us to the world we have never been and without it we go nowhere, I wouldn’t have experience colonial ghost if it was not Lord Goode
Mridula Gupta
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have always been fond of places, their history, the stories that their people live to tell and Latitudes of Longing has made me crave to do that, the drop-everything-and-do-what-your-heart-wants sort of craving. So I guess the title is quite appropriate not just for the characters but also for the readers.

Latitudes of Longing has four interconnected stories, but each story takes place and symbolizes a particular topology. The stories are metaphorical, full of longing and covering almost every
Apr 15, 2022 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian
Oтдавна не ми се беше случвало да си кажа ' Ох, най-сетне я свърших тази книга'. Разпокъсна, отвлечена, претенциозна в изказа си - ужасно ми дотежа. Няколко пъти заспивах докато се опитвах да свърша последните страници. ...more
It started impressive and I was quite sure it is my kind of book , the one which I usually give whole.5 stars to , and recommend right and left . But by 60 percent it deviated and almost morphed into an abstract, confusing tale.
I like a story well told in beautiful lyrical language. What I don't like is trying to involve as many issues of importance and deviate as much from the original thread so as to create an ameobic tale which puts forth its pseudopods in varying confusing directions.
Farah Firdaus
Richly imaginative and beautifully written, Latitudes of Longing follows the interconnected lives of characters in a long and laborious trudge in searching for a comfort of love and intimacy. With an unusual narrative that hovers between the past and the present, dreams and realities , the story propels the readers to ponder about human devastating relationship with nature.

Nature, being the force of this story, is acknowledged as the muse that inspires this book: “The muse of this novel is our
My gratitude to author Shubhangi Swarup and Random House for sharing an advance review copy of the book. Enchanting, sentimental & mystical! This is a rewarding read for the patient reader who is looking for thoughtful Earth-bound magical realism.

Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup is place-based eco-fiction which emphasizes Earth’s powerful forces, especially earthquakes—in remote parts of India and more of south Asia following after India gained independence from the U.K in 1947. Relation
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
This is a beautiful book, it is an incredible debut that takes the reader on an exquisite journey through the physical world into what lies beyond.  It explores birth, love, nature, death and the afterlife, all focusing on a wonderful collection of characters.  You know you have a good book in your hands when you find yourself beaming at the pages and constantly thinking of it when real life gets in the way and you've got to put it down.

The thing that first drew me to this book was the cover, I
Mar 10, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india_2021

It was an achingly beautiful tale. This book is divided in four parts, Islands, Faultline, Valley and Snow desert tracing the path between Andamans , Burma, Nepal and no man's land separating India and Pakistan.

Islands- We meet newly married couple, Girija Prasad and Chanda Devi living on a tropical island. Girija Prasad who is a scientist and has received an Oxford education. Chanda Devi who talks to trees , ghosts and animals alike.
Faultline- We follow Chanda’s maid, Mary and her son.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I relish books that take me to different geographies, show me how a land breathes and lives. Latitudes of Longing, in that sense, is rich in its sprawl. Beginning with the story of Girija Prasad and Chanda Devi in the Andamans, the story took me across continents through an intricately woven tapestry of people and stories within stories to eventually end in a full circle.

There is an intensity that is rooted in every page of the book, an energy that crackles in the air. This is most palpable in
My thoughts:
I loved the lush lyrical language in these four loosely connected stories that offers narratives of people in South Asia whose voices are often missing in the mainstream.

Full of interesting historical, cultural and geological details as the stories took me to the Andaman Islands, 1990s Burma (now Myanmar) and the Karakoram Mountains.

Overall this inventive book offers a nuanced and thoughtful exploration of human connections and the world we live in.

In the author's note she says, "Th
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Shubhangi Swarup is a journalist and educationist. She was awarded the Charles Pick Fellowship for Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, and has also won awards for gender sensitivity in feature writing. She lives in Mumbai.

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