A novel of multiple narratives, set in contemporary India, the new book from Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author Neel Mukherjee explores the urge to escape the life we are given for something better.
Neel Mukherjee is the author of two previous novels, A Life Apart (2010), which won the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for best novel, and The Lives of Others (2014), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Costa Best Novel Award, and won the Encore Prize for best second novel.
"An extraordinary, compassionate, complex, hard-hitting wonder of a
book. It is in a class of its own." -- Rose Tremain
"Neel Mukherjee's breathtaking A State of Freedom is that rarest, most wonderful of things: a book both literarily dextrous, full of unforgettable scenes, images, language, and characters, as well as a furious, unsparing, clear-eyed study of how a society's gross inequities of money and power demean and deform the human condition. The most astonishing and brilliant novel I have read in a long, long time." -- Hanya Yanagihara
"Fans of Neel Mukherjee expect that his books will be exceptional and once again he has produced just that. A State of Freedom is formally audacious, vividly observed, and deeply imagined. Unsentimental yet full of heart, grimly real yet mysteriously dreamlike, with characters who continue to live their complicated lives long after you've turned the last page. Just a beautiful, beautiful piece of work." -- Karen Joy Fowler
"A State of Freedom is an extraordinary achievement. Subtle and multi-layered, it's a study of the brutality of social divisions, written with tremendous tenderness; a work that insists on the dignity of figures obliged to lead undignified lives. A powerful, troubling novel. The moment I finished it, I began it again." -- Sarah Waters
"A State of Freedom is a novel like no other -- its prose is so rich, unequivocally precise and graceful that it allows Mukherjee to illustrate the most horrific of experiences with stunning compassion. A State of Freedom is more than a novel-it is an immersive experience. He writes like a painter, his language is his palette, one reminiscent of the late Howard Hodgkin's. Mukherjee brings to life the variation of India's cities and towns in a dense multi-layered world where modern life, by accident or intention, tears at traditions that are centuries old. Throughout we are reminded of how little power many have over their lives and of emotional and financial economies so fragile that something as small as a single egg can carry great weight." -- A.M. Homes
"This is a great hymn to poor, scabby humanity-a devastating portrait of poverty and the inhumanity of the rich to the poor. A masterpiece!" -- Edmund White
"an extraordinary account of the tenacious will to survive... He seeds his tales with images of unexpected beauty... Freedom here is relative, complicated, fissured and often won at another's expense" -- Siobhain Murphy * The Times *
"Neel Mukherjee shows himself to be one of those contemporary authors who invites readers to make connections between seemingly disparate story strands... Combined with Mukherjee's rich realisation of the novel's individual elements, this indeterminacy makes A State of Freedom a powerful, memorable treatment of a theme too often reduced to uninvolving didacticism" -- Adam Lively * Sunday Times *
"The beauty of Mukherjee's prose sucks the reader into an alternative world, where misery, deprivation and the struggle to exist another day are normal" -- John Harding * Daily Mail *
"Mukherjee... homes in on the restless, the disinherited, the socially trapped... Mercilessly observant, he does not spare the reader but leavens scenes of savagery, squalor and despair with moments of rainbow vividness, all the more striking for the muddy, cacophonous backdrop from which they are brought forth... In a significant and porous work, Mukherjee gives congruence and visibility to these fractured, hidden lives" -- Catherine Taylor * New Statesman *