Lit Guide: All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy


Anuradha Roy is an author, editor and journalist who was born in Calcutta, India. Roy grew up in Hyderabad, India, and she studied English Literature. Roy is the author of 4 novels, and her novels have been translated into several languages. Roy has also been recognized with a wide array of awards and honors because of her literary work.  

All The Lives We Never Lived is a thought provoking book about the struggles of a young boy during the volatile times of World War II. Myshkin is a young child who is longing for his mother’s love after she abandons his family. Myshkins mother is anti-establishment; she has non-traditional views. She craves deep connection and excitement, and that is why she succumbs to the enticement of a European man. Unfortunately, she is willing to give everything up for her love, even her family. Myshkin struggles with understanding the world that he knew and the world that he is growing up in. Myshkin’s mother decides that she is going to run off with her lover, and she moves with him to Bali. Before this huge shift, Myshin lives a fairly happy life, but his mother’s actions turn his world upside down. 

Myshin’s deep desire for connection leads him to two strangers who arrive in his town. As the story develops, Myshin begins to understand the connection that exists between the worn-torn world and his traumatic home life. 

Myshin begins to piece together the life of his mother and her journey. In doing this, he travels all around India, and he begins to understand the challenges of his estranged mother. This is a novel that explores the devastating consequences of freedom while at the same time gives the reader a colorful tour of the crevices of india. This is a story of a tragic journey of personal ambition, lust, happiness, and deception. Roy creates a mesmerizing portrayal of the social structure of India in the 1930s. 

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