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Latitudes of Longing: A Novel
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Latitudes of Longing: A Novel

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  436 ratings  ·  97 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 ...more
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published July 25th 2018 by HarperCollins India
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  436 ratings  ·  97 reviews


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Resh (The Book Satchel)
Fabulous read. I have SO MANY thoughts. Definitely recommended!
Padmaja
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
...more
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
...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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Surabhi Chatrapathy
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, favourites
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
...more
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.
Sahil Pradhan
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Disclaimer: The book deserves more than five stars. May be ten or more!

A brilliant debut that blends natural with supernatural, human with otherworldly

Latitudes of Longing sweeps through worlds and times that are inhabited by a scientist who studies trees and a clairvoyant who talks to them; Lord Goodenough who travels around the furthest reaches of the Raj, giving names to nameless places; a geologist working towards ending futile wars over a glacier; octogenarian lovers; a superstitious dictat
...more
Karuna Parikh
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book begins beautifully in the Andamans just post independence in India. The characters in this first section are enigmatic, well thought out and easy to fall in love with. The geography and mythology here are spot on, but just as youre ready to sink you're teeth into the novel it begins to unravel. The next two sections of the book are a meandering mess with connections between characters so loose and unbelievable they end up feeling a little pointless. The places Swarup explores post Andam ...more
Smriti
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
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
...more
Helly
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Splendid novel that moves smoothly - highly recommended for all types of readers.
Ankit Bhardwaj
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is such a breath of fresh air, and Shubhangi Swarup is a talent with a unique style and a relentless knack for thoughtful one-liners.

The book reads as a result of much reflection on bordered social life in an unbordered natural world. It is a book where islands, mountains, sea, towns and prisons are intertwined, and the characters are caught moving between them, part out of their agency, part out of circumstance, part because of natural tendency.

The novel's characters are imperfect,
...more
Nanta
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most beautiful books I have read in recent months. The prose is stunning and the tender and delicate handling of the story really made the reading experience so tranquil. Shubhangi Swarup writes with great empathy and ecological consciousness about the relationship between civilization and nature, about life and death and loneliness and reprieve. I loved the magical realistic elements invoking a great sense of the continuum we live in. The first portion of the book, Islands, w ...more
Simran Sharma (Craartology)
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shubhangi Swarup's debut novel is gripping and profound piece of literature. A book based on four landscapes of Islands, Faultline, Valley and Snow desert with ornate descriptions of the same. Each landscape has stories of characters with a longing for an experience that's can't be explained but rather felt and experienced.

Girija Prasad, Chanda Devi, Devi,Mary,Plato,Thapa, Bebo, Apo, Ghazala and Rana explain so much about life's past, present and future in just a one book. The characters of the
...more
Seemita
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Seemita by: Shubhangi Swarup
A strong 3.5 stars.
itsnikhat
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Latitudes of Longing is a collection of stories of various characters — Chanda Devi, Girija Prasad, Mary, Plato, Devi, Thapa, Ghazala, Bebo — and their arcs connected/related to each other.

It takes you travelling through islands and mountains! The book is filled with geological and historic details told in a beautiful lyrical manner. I found the first part of the book to be very alluring, and the characters were very charismatic; they made sure that I remained engrossed in the story. I wanted m
...more
Vaidya
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing first novel!
Faultlines, earthquakes, longings, the past, and the future. Such rich characters. And prose that’ll make you cry!

Starting in Andaman with a scientist and his clairvoyant wife, moving to Burma and a woman’s struggle to get her son released, and the son’s fights. To Nepal and a man’s rediscovery of life amidst solitude. And them the story of love blooming amidst octogenarians in the high Himalayas. A river. A turtle. A sea. A desert. All of them where the lonely Indian
...more
Jignasha
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars for an exceptional debut.

Shubhanshu Swarup’s book consists of four parts, each taking place in a different geography but intersecting briefly with its characters.
I am blown away by the first story - ‘Islands’, by its character Chanda Devi, who speaks directly to my conscience. I won’t try describing her or her story, as some things must simply be experienced to know how wondrous they are. The novel belongs as much to the islands and the mountains and the oceans as it does to its charac
...more
Roshan Singh
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is made of stuff dreams are made of. I did not read this book, I dreamt it. Each sentence is sheer poetry. I surrendered myself completely from the first page, from then on I was carried away like a twig in the wind. There's just two other books which have been such rewarding reading experiences and those two have been debuts as well. "God of small things" by Arundhati Roy, "Boats on land" by Janice Pariat and now "Latitudes of longing" by . These are my absolute favourite books. I kno ...more
Abhipsa Mishra
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A beautiful book, which has the richness of a classic. Metaphor and analogy heavy, the story explores the lives of multiple characters. The way human lives are spelt out in parallel within geographical and social changes is one of a kind. Islands, plains and mountains, fault lines and floods, all come together with India's independence and Burma's civil war.
There is no coherent storyline, just a light jump from one character narrative to another in different land and social forms. This put me of
...more
Vinayak Varma
Richly descriptive and imaginative, but narratively flabby in many parts, particularly post the first (and best) section of the book. Still, the story's scope and strangeness, its fascinating characters, and its lush language, are compelling even when it all slows to the point where you can feel the continents lumbering into coalescence beneath you, and you can see the Himalayas rising out of the ancient seas, and -- science! magic! miracle! gravity! -- all the ghosts of all the extinct marine c ...more
Shohini
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read in years. It is the kind of book that you sit inside the covers with, with a mug of steaming hot tea, and a pencil in hand, to highlight paragraphs, and savour the words. If you are looking for escapism in nature and the human condition, in loss and remembrance, in geographies and people's connection to the land, this is the book for you. It is almost impossible to describe the book, please please read it. This book needs to be supported.
Bodhisattya Pal
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-releases
Detail Review: https://bodhisattwapalreview.blogspot...

REVIEW:
"Dreams, memories, desires... Come closer, let me tell you the marvelous tales this tree tells me."

The debutante Subhangi Swarup is calling you to live her magnup opus creation. The author wrote in one place - "Some dreams are so beautiful and fragile.. they are left unrealized."
Just like that some stories are so beautiful that it's hard to describe & impossible to review. I am just speechless, my words have lost somewhere in the
...more
Mainak Mukhoty
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A meandering read, through the slow, arduous islands at first, and the imposing snow desert at the end. What remains with you more than the characters is geography, as all longings belong to places. The humans though, fall slightly short of expectation. Do not expect to breeze through this one.
Sneha
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved how the subplots formed a bridge from one to another. Lyrical and splendid in imagination I must say. Made me reread a few paragraphs!


Chetana Thakur Chakraborty
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Magical.
Jesal
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve finished just the first section on Andaman. I want to take it slow because what I read was that good! Find myself thinking of the characters sometimes in the day; And the last scene of the story I read—it’s a treat to imagine it visually! The words and the beautiful sentences at times ring in my head and when it happens it’s a dose of pleasure.
Marco
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Beautiful and lyrical writing doesn't necessarily make a good book and Latitudes of Longing is, for me, the living example of that.
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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.
“What is the purpose of belief if even god can't put the world back the way you worshipped it ?” 5 likes
“Compared to all the glorious lives one can lead, the human one is quite a chore.” 1 likes
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