New Delhi: The evening before his book launch, on the lawns of his South Delhi farmhouse, William Dalrymple stroked his white cockatoo and discussed his latest book, ”Nine Lives”, a work in progress since 1997.
He struggled to find a way to avoid the pitfalls of being a Westerner writing about religion in India, until he discovered he could simply remove himself from the story. Stepping away from the action, he dignifies his characters — a Jain nun undergoing ritualistic suicide, a Buddhist monk atoning for his youth as a soldier, a jail warden who transforms into God for three months every year — by allowing them to tell the stories of their lives and their spiritual awakening in their own voice.
In the conversation, Dalrymple discusses the two tales that touched him the most, the benefit of being an “Insider-Outsider” writer, and his own religious inclinations. The book was released on October the 14th.