Seth’s Latest

Over at the NY Times, William Grimes reviews Vikram Seth’s Two Lives, his new memoir about his uncle and aunt, a fascinating couple he spent time with while studying in London.

“Two Lives” is a curious tale curiously told. Mr. Seth, with ferocious diligence, leaves no stone unturned in his efforts to recreate the childhood and early adulthood of his two protagonists. Much of the material will be of interest only to the Seth family. Swept away by his subject, the author often falls into a dull, chronological re-creation of the biographical record, fleshed out with long historical digressions on, say, the Italian campaign of World War II and reflections on the cruelties of the 20th century. Reluctant to add emotion to emotionally charged facts, Mr. Seth adopts a muted, nearly affectless tone. At times he sounds as if he is merely annotating documents. Actually, he is telling a great love story, involving two remarkable people.

I recently read and reviewed the book for another outlet–more details soon.