The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee (1994) has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014.
The novel tells the story of three generations of the Ghosh family, all living under the same roof and experiencing the struggles of Indian society in the late 1960s. As the plot unfolds, the family’s experiences mirror the issues within their society: desire, power, poverty, rivalry, violence, oppression and rebellion. At the centre of the story is the eldest son, Supratik, who has become involved in extremist political activism and disappeared. Through him the novel asks important questions: how do we imagine our place in the world? Can that be reimagined? And at what cost?
Neel Mukherjee was born in Calcutta. As well as completing a PhD at Pembroke College, he studied at Jadavpur University, the University of Oxford and the University of East Anglia. He is a fiction reviewer for The Times and has also written for several other major newspapers in the UK and US.
His first novel, A Life Apart (2010), was originally published in India as Past Continuous. It won several awards including the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for best fiction and was listed as a ‘Book of the Year’ by The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, the TLS and The Sunday Telegraph.
The Lives of Others was published in the UK on 22nd May 2014. It was met with glowing reviews: A S Byatt writing in The Guardian called it ‘very ambitious and very successful’, while Patrick Flanery of The Telegraph described it as ‘marvellously well-observed and psychologically nuanced’.
Mukherjee’s novel is one of six that have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014. The winner will be revealed on Tuesday 14 October 2014 at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall and the ceremony will be televised by the BBC.