Yaddo

My Beloved Life tells twin stories of a father and his daughter, spanning 85 years, pre- and post- independence India. Jadu Kunwar, an elderly history professor in Patna, recalls his birth in 1935, marked by his mother surviving a cobra bite. The story follows Jadu's life growing up, his subsequent marriage, and the birth of his daughter, Jugnu. In the 1960s, inspired by sherpa Tenzing Norgay, Jadu temporarily leaves for UC Berkeley on a Fulbright scholarship. The novel's second part, set in 2020, depicts Jugnu, now a journalist in Atlanta, reflecting on her father's journey and how it parallels her own quest for self-reinvention.

“This profound book is full of lives whose beauty lies in the wholeness of their telling. A father, a daughter, a crime, a country being born, a migration, another country, a plague... His novel offers magnificent witness.” 

Salman Rushdie

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AMITAVA KUMAR was born in Ara, India, and grew up in the nearby town of Patna. He is the author of the novel Immigrant, Montana, as well as several other books of nonfiction and fiction. He lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, and teaches at Vassar College.


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Collectively, Yaddo artists have won 82 Pulitzer Prizes, 34 MacArthur Fellowships, 71 National Book Awards and a Nobel Prize in Literature. Learn more about the impact of Yaddo.

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