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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Feat
William Dalrymple takes on the biggest subject of all: the human search for the divine. Elegant, sad, wise and moving it is the best and most nuanced book on South Asian spirituality to appear for many years: no wonder it has been top of the bestseller list here in India for weeks. Only someone who has spent many years in the subcontinent would have the depth of knowledge...
Published on 4 Jan 2010 by Anuradha Singh

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars [...]
I borrowed this from not having read any of Dalrymple's travel books before, and I really enjoyed it. Dalrymple does what he says he set out to do in this book: he removes himself from the stories. The focus is entirely on the people he meets and on their lives. This is in contrast to a lot of travel writing (including his own earlier books); where, as Dalrymple says,...
Published on 15 Jan 2011 by miss me morris


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful, 6 Sep 2012
This review is from: Nine Lives (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely loved this book. I've read all of William Dalrymple's books and his knowledge of India, its culture, history and people, is deep and perceptive. This book takes the form of nine interviews/experiences with people in different walks of life in India. It explores their backgrounds, why they have ended up where they are, the influence of their religion and philosophy has on their choice of life. It's non-judgemental: Dalrymple simply lets the interviewees tell their own story, which is relayed simply and thoughtfully. A really excellent read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nine Lives, 4 Jan 2012
This review is from: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (Paperback)
Quite the best overview of modern religious diversity in India I have read. William Dalrymple's comprehensive and sympathetic synopsis of the impact of ancient and contemporary religion in India today is magnificently handled. Clearly written yet able to deal with sophisticated currents of belief, including issues of fundamentalism and sexuality, Dalrymple's Nine Lives is a must for any student of Indian religion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful inside view into India, 20 May 2011
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This review is from: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (Paperback)
I read this book as I was travelling through India and came across a few of the lifestyle described in the book and it was lovely to have this bit of inside knowledge, it gave the trip more meaning. Great book for anyone who wants to find out more than the stereotype on India.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful Writing!, 2 Oct 2010
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Andrew Howell "andyhowell3" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (Paperback)
There cannot be any better writer about places, people and their history than Dalrymple.After a decade of producing history he is back in his travels again and we should all be grateful.

He says in the introduction that he has tried hard to remove himself from the stories, that he wanted to properly highlight the voices of those he was featuring. And so we have a book a short stories, concise, perfectly rounded and superbly judged.

The focus here is on those who are part of the amazing range of India's religious and mystical life. I wont't go on -- you should read them for yourself.

The are lovingly written stories about fascinating people, often who live their lives in extraordinary circumstances.

I hope its not another decade before we see the next fruits of Dalrynmple's travels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating and humbling, 16 April 2014
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KEITH HART (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (Paperback)
Reading this makes one realise what one has and how little most of us are prepared to give up to attain moksha.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, 17 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Nine Lives (Kindle Edition)
Short stories that are interesting and without comment. William does a great job in collecting and presenting some really unusual lives and the way that it is set out means you can read one story over a short space of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CULTURE AND HISTORY, 25 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Nine Lives (Kindle Edition)
W.D. is always such a good read and provides brilliant insight into what is for me, another culture. His investigation and reporting helped me to understand and feel more able to emphathise, even if not agree, with others with deep, cultural histories. These are their lives and we are able to share in some them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating examination of spirituality in India's daily life, 19 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Nine Lives (Kindle Edition)
Dalrymple has selected 9 very different people and listened to their stories. He's an acute observer and his excellent background knowledge and commentary illuminate his subjects' own commentaries on their lives and philosophies.
In some ways it's elegiac - the pressures and tensions of modernity increasingly threaten millennia old traditions, for example those who can recite epics for days would seem to be a dying breed, and the 'holy harlots' in the temples (devadasis) are barely different now from rural sex workers, riddled with HIV.
I found it uplifting, moving and enlightening. The author wears his considerable depth of knowledge lightly, and writes clearly and well, he doesn't get in the way of his subjects, rather he draws them out as he gets to know them. It's a great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loving creation of lives lived in a moment of great change, 11 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Nine Lives (Kindle Edition)
This book gives insight to a continent undergoing great cultural shift.
Dalrymple writes with warmth, knowledge and humility about the paradox of Indian spiritual and social lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Dalrymple's Nine Lives, 25 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Nine Lives (Kindle Edition)
Nine lives lives up to what one has become used to expect from William Dalrymple. Well researched, beautifully written and fascinating and unusual characters, he describes not only their lives here and now, but explains how these traditions started and how modern life is impacting upon them. A marvelous book!
The only thing I thought very strange was Amazon offering it at so cheap a price!
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Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple (Paperback - 7 Jun 2010)
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