2020 Shortlist

All the Lives We Never Lived


2020 Shortlist

Dramatised reading of All The Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy, performed by Abdul Alshareef. Produced by Bazar Productions.

In this special Shortlist podcast series, Caelainn Hogan and Jessica Traynor explore All the Lives We Never Lived and speak to author Anuradha Roy.


Comments from the Judging Panel

Set in the 1930s Anuradha Roy’s new novel is like an Indian raga that continues to resonate long after you have finished the last chapter. Myshkin is the nine year-old protagonist, and the central event in his life is revealed in the novel’s opening sentence ‘I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman’.  The Englishman turned out to be Walter, a German, who had to leave British India in a hurry, taking Myshkin’s beloved mother, with him, triggering a memorable saga of love, memory, kindness, human frailty and the devastating loneliness of a boy.

About the Novel

This is the story of Myshkin and his mother, Gayatri, a rebellious, alluring artist who abandons parenthood and marriage to follow her primal desire for freedom.

Though freedom may be stirring in the air of India, across the world the Nazis have risen to power in Germany. At this point of crisis, a German artist from Gayatri’s past seeks her out. His arrival ignites passions she has long been forced to suppress.

What follows is her life as pieced together by her son, a journey that takes him through India and Dutch-held Bali. Excavating the roots of the world in which he was abandoned, he comes to understand his long-lost mother, and the connections between strife at home and a war-torn universe overtaken by patriotism.

About the Author

Anuradha Roy is the author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing and The Folded Earth, as well as Sleeping on Jupiter, which won the DSC Prize for Fiction 2016 and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2015. She lives in Ranikhet, India.

Librarian’s Comments

Anuradha Roy blends fact and fiction into a lyrical, mesmerizing story. Free Library of Philadelphia, USA



Atria Books, MacLehose Press


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