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This review is from: Two Lives (Paperback)
This is an exceptional account of the lives of Shanti and Henny Seth, the author's great uncle and aunt. The book starts with Vikram Seth going to live with Shanti and Henny when he is seventeen. We are then given a wonderful insight into the lives of these two fascinating people, both born in 1908 - one in India, and one in Germany, one a Hindu, and one a Jew. It amazed me how many letters, and other documents had survived, and Vikram Seth was able to reproduce for us - and so we hear from Henny and Shanti themselves - especially Shanti - as he had given his great nephew eleven long interviews - and we have many incidents described for us in his own words. The part of the book which was most disturbing, was of course, the section about Henny and her family, and what happened to them after Henny managed to get to England just weeks before the outbreak of war in 1939. I found myself shaking my head and muttering over and over " how could people allow..." and so on - all the things we think we know about that period of Europen history is brought into stark reality.
Shanti and Henny have become as real to me, as any of my own relatives, in telling us about them Vikram Seth has done a wonderful job. He has written about these two lives, with affection, and great love, but also with real truth.