Author(s): Neel Mukherjee
What happens when one attempts to exchange the life one is given for something better? Can we transform the possibilities we are born into? A State of Freedom prises open the central, defining events of our century - displacement and migration - but not as you imagine them. Five characters, in very different circumstances - from a domestic cook in Mumbai, to a vagrant and his dancing bear, and a girl who escapes terror in her home village for a new life in the city - find out the meanings of dislocation, intended or enforced, and the desire for more. In this novel of multiple narratives, set in contemporary India and moving between the reality of this world and the shadow of another, Neel Mukherjee delivers a devastating and haunting vision of a people defined by that most unquenchable of human urges, the striving for a different life. Formally daring, fierce but full of pity, A State of Freedom asks the fundamental question: how does one imagine the ways one can live in the world?
"An extraordinary, compassionate, complex, hard-hitting wonder of a book. It is in a class of its own." -- Rose Tremain "This is a great hymn to poor, scabby humanity-a devastating portrait of poverty and the inhumanity of the rich to the poor. A masterpiece!" -- Edmund White "Fans of Neel Mukherjee expect that his books will be exceptional and once again he has produced just that. A State of Freedom is formally audacious, vividly observed, and deeply imagined. Unsentimental yet full of heart, grimly real yet mysteriously dreamlike, with characters who continue to live their complicated lives long after you've turned the last page. Just a beautiful, beautiful piece of work." -- Karen Joy Fowler
Neel Mukherjee is the author of two novels, A Life Apart (2010), which won the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for best novel, and The Lives of Others (2014), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Costa Best Novel Award, and won the Encore Prize for best second novel.