A devastating novel of multiple narratives, “a mark of Neel Mukherjee’s range and force and ambition” (New York Times Book Review).
A State of Freedom wrests open the central, defining events of our century: displacement and migration. Five characters, in very different circumstances—from a domestic cook in Mumbai to a vagrant and his dancing bear—find out the meanings of dislocation and the desire to get more out of life.
About the Author
Calcutta-born Neel Mukherjee is the author of three acclaimed novels. A State of Freedom was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and The Lives of Others was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Mukherjee divides his time between London and the US.
[Mukherjee’s] writing is simply gorgeous.… A State of Freedom is a marvel of a book, shocking and beautiful, and it proves that Mukherjee is one of the most original and talented authors working today.
The most astonishing and brilliant novel I have read in a long, long time. — Hanya Yanagihara
Mukherjee looks straight at the ugliest parts of an unequal society and uses what he finds to construct something beautiful. — Harper’s
Neel Mukherjee has a genius for storytelling.… [He’s] a writer of abundant gifts. — Seattle Times
Many of the sections are sprinkled with otherworldly moments and spectral figures, so that these narratives read almost like ghost stories, while others are rooted firmly in the achingly realistic, unequal, and unjust soil of modern day India. — Boston Globe
Experimental.… The characters are connected less by the slender narrative thread than by their acute awareness of inequity. — The New Yorker
A writer who can envelop you in the worlds he creates, and whose piercing eye for detail can send you reeling.… [Mukherjee] seeds his tales with images of unexpected beauty… an extraordinary account of the tenacious will to survive. — The Times
Dostoevsky-like in its juxtaposition of unbearable cruelty with an equally unbearable yearning for security and love.… [A State of Freedom is] a powerful, memorable treatment of a theme too often reduced to uninvolving didacticism.
— Sunday Times
His best work yet.… This bleak and entirely justified vision of modern India is what binds together Mukherjee’s stories and indeed his oeuvre. — Financial Times
Uniquely suited to depicting the operation of fate and coincidence, and to showing relationships and characters from a variety of angles.… Unsparing. — Newsday