Nine Lives

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-06-15
  • Publisher: Knopf
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From the author of The Last Mughal (A compulsively readable masterpiece The New York Review of Books), an exquisite, mesmerizing book that illuminates the remarkable ways in which traditional forms of religious life in India have been transformed in the vortex of the regionís rapid change a book that distills the authorís twenty five years of travel in India, taking us deep into ways of life that we might otherwise never have known exist.

A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet and spends the rest of his life atoning for the violence by hand printing the finest prayer flags in India A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her closest friend ritually starve herself to death A woman leaves her middle class life in Calcutta and finds unexpected fulfillment living as a Tantric in an isolated, skull filled cremation ground A prison warder from Kerala is worshipped as an incarnate deity for three months of every year An idol carver, the twenty third in a long line of sculptors, must reconcile himself to his sonís desire to study computer engineering An illiterate goatherd from Rajasthan keeps alive in his memory an ancient four thousand stanza sacred epic A temple prostitute, who initially resisted her own initiation into sex work, pushes both her daughters into a trade she nonetheless regards as a sacred calling.

William Dalrymple chronicles these lives with expansive insight and a spellbinding evocation of circumstance. And while the stories reveal the vigorous resilience of individuals in the face of the relentless onslaught of modernity, they reveal as well the continuity of ancient traditions that endure to this day. A dazzling travelogue of both place and spirit.

Author Biography

William Dalrymple is the author of six acclaimed works of history and travel, including City of Djinns, which won the Young British Writer of the Year Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award; the best-selling From the Holy Mountain; and White Mughals, which won Britain’s most prestigious history prize, the Wolfson. He has also received the Duff Cooper Prize for The Last Mughal. He divides his time between New Delhi and London, and is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The Guardian.

Table of Contents

Mapp. viii
Introductionp. ix
The Nun's Talep. 3
The Dancer of Kannurp. 29
The Daughters of Yellammap. 55
The Singer of Epicsp. 76
The Red Fairyp. 109
The Monk's Talep. 142
The Maker of Idolsp. 171
The Lady Twilightp. 199
The Song of the Blind Minstrelp. 226
Glossaryp. 253
Bibliographyp. 263
Indexp. 269
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Fascinating June 19, 2011
'Nine Lives' is a welcome return to travel writing, focusing on the stories of individual lives and religious rites from around India. In this textbook, William Dalrymple continues his exploration of India and its diversity by delving into the various fringe and non-mainstream religious and spiritual traditions which are still considered sacred by its many followers. Strongly recommended for anyone with any interest in India, or simply wanting to read wonderful tales of human life. Also, I would recommend ecampus for purchasing; the seller was also very helpful and responded to my emails very quickly.
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Nine Lives: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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