Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
- by William Dalrymple -
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: November 19, 2009
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1408800616
ISBN-13: 978-1408800614
Synopsis Nine people. Nine Lives. Each taking a different religious path. This is a modern Indian Canterbury Tales.

A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet - then spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the violence by hand printing the best prayer flags in India. A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her best friend ritually starve to death. A woman leaves her middle-class family in Calcutta, and her job in a jute factory, only to find unexpected love and fulfilment living as a Tantric skull feeder in a remote cremation ground. A prison warden from Kerala becomes, for two months of the year, a temple dancer and is worshipped as a deity; then, at the end of February each year, he returns to prison.

An illiterate goat herd from Rajasthan keeps alive an ancient 4,000-line sacred epic that he, virtually alone, still knows by heart. A devadasi - or temple prostitute - initially resists her own initiation into sex work, yet pushes both her daughters into a trade she now regards as a sacred calling.
Tags: India, fiction
William Dalrymple
William Dalrymple is joined by Phil Whelan on Morning Brew (26.2.2010)to talk about his new book, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India and introduce the books' characters.
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