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Neel Mukherjee’s new novel is a searing account of state oppression and Communist terror

The 100-page story of Milly and Soni, two tribal villagers, is held together by Mukherjee’s wonderfully inventive prose style

By Tanjil Rashid   August 2017

A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee (Chatto & Windus, £16.99)

You can tell a lot from the titles of Neel Mukherjee’s novels. The “state of freedom” he refers to in the title of his latest work has multiple meanings. It rings ironically of Indira Gandhi’s state of emergency from 1975-77, even as the book’s five narratives are set in contemporary India. The title also refers to a metaphysical state, the freedom unlocked when—like each of Mukherjee’s protagonists—you are dislocated from home. The characters’ lives, from a servant in Mumbai to…

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