(K. Brent Tomer),
A State of Freedom. By Neel Mukherjee. Chatto & Windus; 275 pages; £16.99. To be published in America by Norton in January.
MIGRATION is generally understood in terms of geography: relocating from one region to another. But what impels those who move, at least when it is voluntary, is often a desire to migrate between social classes. It is this particular aspect of migration that is at the heart of Neel Mukherjee’s “A State of Freedom”, his follow-up to “The Lives of Others”, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize for fiction in 2014.
Mr Mukherjee uses an unconventional structure—five loosely connected stories of varying length, forming a novel—to address his themes of movement and class. In one, a London-settled Indian returns to his parent’s home in Mumbai. His story revolves around food: his love for it, a recipe book he is writing, his parents’ insistence on overfeeding him. The tension arises from his attempts to…Continue reading