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Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India [Hardcover]

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Brandi1
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« on: June 28, 2010, 10:54:57 am »

Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India [Hardcover]
By William Dalrymple

BuzzFlash.com's Review (excerpt)
“Nine Lives is an absolutely beautiful book: honest, edifying, and moving. I love so much about it, but mostly I love how William Dalrymple has gotten out of the way of the story, letting the characters inhabit in their own voices every square inch of each page. It’s a delight.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“Dalrymple vividly evokes the lives of these men and women, with the sharp eye and good writing that we have come to expect of his extraordinary books . . . Nine Lives is a glorious mixture of journalism, anthropology, history, and history of religions, written in prose worthy of a good novel . . . Not since Kipling has anyone evoked village India so movingly . . . The book gives an answer to Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and those who would condemn all religions for the sake of the fanatical fringe.”
—Wendy Doniger, The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"Highly interesting, wonderfully researched, beautifully written, as are all of this author's works.

A main question seems to be whether often-isolated, syncretistic, devotional religious practices will continue in the face of India's burgeoning economy and, presumably, growing secularism and consumerism, on the one hand, and the exclusionary fanaticism of a militant segment of Hindus and Muslims, on the other. While much will be gained by greater educational opportunity and a higher/healthier standard of living for the rural and urban poor and powerless, rich, curious, sometimes bizarre religious practices in the name of the gods will probably fade away.

This book is not about mainstream religious practices or faiths of the great religions --- or even of "smaller traditions" that have gained acceptance, if not understanding, because of their great age. The `Sacred" referred to in the title are approaches to gods/God that are, for all the integrity of those interviewed who practice them, mightily strange.

The book certainly shows that devout, faithful approaches to belief are common to all levels of people and a belief in a "greater power" is sustaining in the most difficult of situations. The book is a wondrous "read" about good people whom most of us will never otherwise hear."


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