Nine Lives is a remarkable piece of travel writing on India’s carnivalesque culture and society, seen through the lens of its backwater religions, self-contained cults and their outcast followers.
The book contains nine stories, each of which is a detailed biographical sketch. What does it means to be a temple prostitute, a warring monk or a man who becomes a god for 3 months? Perhaps most astonishing of all is the tale about an illiterate goat herder from Rajasthan who keeps alive in his memory an ancient 4000-stanza sacred epic.
Reading this book was so rewarding that I’ve ordered three others also by Dalrymple. You can most definitely call me a fan.