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My Revolutions [Paperback]

Hari Kunzru
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 May 2008

It’s the day before Mike Frame’s fiftieth birthday and his quiet provincial life is suddenly falling apart. But perhaps it doesn’t matter, because it’s not his life in the first place. He has a past that his partner Miranda and step-daughter Sam know nothing about, lived under another name amidst the turbulence of the revolutionary armed struggle of the 1970s.

Now Mike is seeing ghosts – a dead ex-lover and an old friend who wants to reminisce. Mike can no longer ignore the contradiction between who he is and who he once was. Which side was he on back then? And which side is he on now?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (29 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141020202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141020204
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A beautifully constructed piece of story-telling...taut, hard-edged prose" -- The Telegraph

"His finest piece of work to date... impassioned, intelligent and profoundly serious... We need more books like this" -- Scotland on Sunday

"My Revolutions is a sharp reminder, as sharp as tomorrow's headlines, of how the past will insist on haunting the present. Hari Kunzru writes a clear, clean, elegant prose, and his presentation of political realities is worryingly real" -- John Banville

"The way unacknowledged sexual competition, the thrill of transgression and the very adolescent desire to find a theory for everything sends its characters out of their depth is thoroughly understood, and carefully described. This is, it is a joy to report, a novel about terrorism that doesn't insist on, or even suggest, its relevance to the events of today" -- Literary Review

"This is a book that had to be written, this is a story that had to be told, this demystification of the last great mythical occurrence in recent times had to be done...This is a beautiful book, without naivety or cynicism"
-- Hindustani Times (New Delhi)

About the Author

Hari Kunzru is the author of The Impressionist, Transmission and the short story collection Noise, and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, 2003. He is a contributing editor of Mute magazine and sits on the executive council of English PEN. He lives in East London. You can read more about him at:

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great review of the 1968 epoch 28 July 2010
Wonderful little book, I could not put it down. It goes through the whole pseudo-revolutionary era of the late sixties and early seventies from the point of view of communist terrorists in England. From their (lack of) understanding of society to living with the past in today's world. Touches so close to reality at times that one is allowed to question what is fiction and what is journalism at times.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Hand out the arms and ammo 1 July 2009
By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
We're going to blast our way through here
We've got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here, and you know its right." Thunderclap Newman

For many the revolution of the 60s (such as it was) was played out in song. Whether the Beatles, the Who, or Thunderclap Newman, there was a lot of talk, a lot of song, and plenty of demos and marches. But for the most part talk about revolution was just talk. There were some notable exceptions. Paris, Mexico and the Prague Spring in 1968 were a few. In the U.S. some elements of the anti-war movement, most notably the Weather Underground morphed into violence. The U.K. had the "Angry Brigade" and it is that group that provides the historical background for Hari Kunzru's new work, "My Revolutions".

"My Revolutions" takes us back to a time when something was in the air, but makes the reader question what that something actually was. Kunzru takes us down this path with one Mike Frame, a man approaching 50, leading a quiet, comfortable suburban life with his partner of 16-years, Miranda. We soon discover that Mike Frame is not at all what he seems to be. Rather, his real name is Chris Carver, a radical in the 60s who went underground after a series of robberies and bombings at the height of the anti-war movement in the UK. After a vacation on the continent Frame's life begins to unravel. He spots a woman there who appears to be one of his old comrades in arms. He is then approached by a second old comrade, one who seeks to blackmail Frame/Carver into revealing that yet another comrade, now a highly placed government official, was once part of the violent fringe of the anti-war movement in the UK. The novel alternates between the unraveling of Frame's life and the back story of Carver's.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free All People All Free 9 Sep 2009
Within the international context of the Vietnam War, the British intervention in Northern Ireland and May 68 in France, a group of angry young leftist revolutionaries rebels against the Political, Social and Moral Establishments for a better world.
They are impatient and frustrated that nearly nothing in the world changes and believe that through small actions (bombings, demonstrations, squatting) revolution is possible. `You can't hate the world's imperfections so absolutely without getting drawn towards death.'
They have a vision that `after the revolution there will be enough for all.'
But they make the cardinal sin of forgetting that in the real world the working class is organized (unions).

As always with leftists movements the members are all the time split by sectarian ideological rifts. On the (a)moral front, their life in a commune turns into a combat of roosters. As the Italian communist theorist Antonio Gramsci also believed, `a revolutionary transformation of society would require a transformation of social life', of man himself.

The main character in this book finally understands that his movement is doomed, that he (it) is powerless. But, his revolutionary past continues to haunt him. He becomes a pawn in an attempt to demolish the political career of a potential British PM.

Mixing brilliantly past and present, Hari Kunzru's novel, written like a thriller, gives a profound and thorough assessment of political action outside the real organized world.
Not to be missed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Something In The Air 20 May 2014
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This novel is a story of activism - suffice to say it's a story that you will either enjoy or deplore, depending on your political persuasion. Personally, I can't say I enjoyed it wholeheartedly. Not because it didn't chime with my own politics, which it did, but because it is a story of regret and dishillousion. If ever there has been a time when people might have felt there could be change in the political world we struggle to understand and encompass, it was the 70s. Personally I don't go in much for nostalgia, but there were institutional battles being fought that seemed to promise change away from the capitalist monolith - the one, you know, that protects the rich while it pauperises some sectors of the population at the bottom of the heap. Don't be disabled, don't be jobless, (especially young and jobless), because your life will be harder than you could ever imagine.

But this novel tells it as it is, or rather, how it was, in the 1970s. Full of idealism, the narrator is an ex-university student who joins a small cadre of activists. They are portrayed with brilliant insight and there is no romanticisation of their misguided attempts to change the nature of their society. Characterisation is a strength. Two time-lines allow us to both identify with the struggling young idealist, and the man he becomes. Towards the end of this story Chris Carver (the narrator) has changed his name and is subjected to a process called `Criticism-Self-Criticism.' He comes through it, though he is left in no doubt about what might have happened if he hadn't persuaded them that he was telling the truth. The paranoia of the beleagured activist group is shocking, dreadful. Trust is shattered.
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