A Life Apart by Neel Mukherjee

A Life Apart

Neel Mukherjee

Ritwik is a young gay Indian man trying to find his way in England after escaping from his tyrannical mother and repressive family in Calcutta. Staying on illegally in London after finishing at Oxford, he finds himself out of his depths in a dangerous criminal underworld. Interwoven with his story is that of Miss Gilby, an English woman in India in the early 1900s - what's the connection? Read this tragic, intelligent novel and find out ....

Extract

Meanwhile, the boys instinctively understood that this bit of friction between their parents was going to take its toll; as soon as their father left the house, she was going to take it out on her sons. They waited in terror and not knowing what she was going to peg her fury on made it worse. It could be a spelling mistake in one of the sets of homework from school; not knowing 'by heart' the last Geography chapter, including every single punctation mark; or a slip-up in the perfect arrangement of books in the school satchel, the biggest one at the bottom, the smallest one on top and everything in between in descending order of size; an unsharpened pencil in the pencil-box - it could be anything. She could even manufacture something to suit her purpose. They could only wait with churning stomachs and small, dimmed faces, but even during their mother's worst excesses, they prayed and hoped that their father wouldn't intervene.

Parallels
  • Londonstani by Gautam Malkani
  • The Story of the Night by Colm Toibin
  • A Passage to India by E M Forster
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Violence
Explicit sexual content