An Atlas of Impossible Longing

Roy, Anuradha

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
An Atlas of Impossible Longing
"Roy's impressive American debut covers multiple generations of an Indian family from the turn of the 20th century to India's partition. Three distinct sections revolve around Amulya, who runs an herbal medicine and fragrance business; his mentally ill wife, Kananbala, who spies on the goings-on of her English neighbors from the room Amulya keeps her locked in; their sons, Kamal and Nirmal; their wives; Nirmal's daughter Bakul, whose mother died in childbirth; and finally Mukunda, an orphan that Amulya helps support, at which point Nirmal brings Mukunda home as a companion for Bakul. Tales weave backward and forward, and characters wallow in their longings, occasionally taking action; Mukunda and Bakul form a lasting bond that doesn't change with their circumstances. The book unfolds in third person until the final section, when Mukunda steps in as narrator to provide a welcome personal perspective on years of events. Roy is especially good at sensory description, making the sounds, smells, and feel of Bengal come vividly to life. Cultures may differ, but longing and love are universal." --Publishers weekly

Series that include this title

Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2011
Edition: 1st Free Press trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 1451608624
Branch Call Number: FICTION ROY 2011
Characteristics: 319 p. ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

"Roy's impressive American debut covers multiple generations of an Indian family from the turn of the 20th century to India's partition." Publisher’s Weekly

The tale of generations of a family from the turn of the 20th century to India's partition. Motherless daughter Bakul and Mukunda, an orphan, are inseparable, but after they grow older and their relationship turns into something more than friendship, Mukunda is banished to Calcutta, where he pros... Read More »

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Dec 16, 2014
  • KindianaJones rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

3 1/2 stars. I thought the "atlas" idea and the "longing" idea were really well conveyed. I had a bit of an issue with the "impossible" idea and found the changes between the different parts of the novel too choppy. I liked it, but didn't love it -- and it had potential to be loved.

Mar 05, 2013
  • LT rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Beautifully written exploration of love, longing, and desire over three generations. Ultimately unsatisfying, as desire often is.

May 24, 2012
  • aprilyee rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Roy's prose is simply incredible and her characters unflinchingly human. Reminiscent of Hemingway's East of Eden (but thankfully, not as dark).

May 01, 2012
  • uncommonreader rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Bengali story of a family. VERY happy ending. Quite well written, but does anyone really live in this world?


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