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William Dalrymple, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

William Dalrymple, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

Nine Lives by William Dalrymple (Knopf, 2010).

Please join us to celebrate the newest work by best-selling writer William Dalrymple. Nine Lives illuminates the remarkable ways in which traditional forms of religious life in India have been transformed 'and held fast'in the vortex of India's rapid change.

A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet'and spends the rest of his life atoning for the violence by hand printing the finest prayer flags in India . . . A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her closest friend ritually starve herself to death . . . A woman leaves her middle-class life in Calcutta and finds unexpected fulfillment living as a Tantric in an isolated, skull-filled cremation ground . . . A prison warder from Kerala is worshipped as a deity for three months of every year . . . An idol carver, the twenty-third in a long line of sculptors, must reconcile himself to his son's desire to study computer engineering . . . An illiterate goat herder from Rajasthan keeps alive in his memory an ancient, 4,000-stanza sacred epic . . . A temple prostitute, who initially resisted sex work, pushes both her daughters into a trade she regards as a sacred calling.

Dalrymple chronicles these lives with expansive insight and a spellbinding evocation of circumstance.

William Dalrymple is the author of six acclaimed works of history and travel, including City of Djinns, which won the Young British Writer of the Year Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award; the best-selling From the Holy Mountain; and White Mughals, which won Britain's most prestigious history prize, the Wolfson. He has also received the Duff Cooper Prize for The Last Mughal. He divides his time between New Delhi and London, and is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The Guardian.

Co-Sponsored by the India Community Center and Mechanics' Institute

Related events:
William Dalrymple/Nine Lives in Washington, 6/16

William Dalrymple/Nine Lives in New York City, 6/18-19

Watch the Nine Lives slideshow

Event Details

23 June 2010
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Mechanics' Institute 57 Post Street San Francisco

$5 Asia Society/Co-sponsor members; $5 students; $10 non-members. To register, please call 415-393-0100 or email [email protected]