Solo by Rana Dasgupta

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Synopsis

With an imaginative audacity and lyrical brilliance that puts him in the company of David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, Rana Dasgupta paints a portrait of a century though the story of a hundred-year-old blind Bulgarian man in a first novel that announces the arrival of an exhilarating new voice in fiction.

In the first movement of Solo we meet Ulrich, the son of a railroad engineer, who has two great passions: the violin and chemistry. Denied the first by his father, he leaves for the Berlin of Einstein and Fritz Haber to study the latter. His studies are cut short when his father’s fortune evaporates, and he must return to Sofia to look after his parents. He never leaves Bulgaria again. Except in his daydreams—and it is those dreams we enter in the volatile second half of the book. In a radical leap from past to present, from life lived to life imagined, Dasgupta follows Ulrich’s fantasy children, born of communism but making their way into a post-communist world of celebrity and violence.

Intertwining science and heartbreak, the old world and the new, the real and imagined, Solo is a virtuoso work.

“Utterly unforgettable in its humanity.” —The Guardian

 

About Rana Dasgupta

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Rana Dasgupta was born in Caterbury in 1971. His first book, Tokyo Cancelled (2005), was short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and praised by Alan Cheuse in the San Francisco Chronicle as "brilliantly conceived." Visit his website at www.ranadasgupta.com.
 
Published February 1, 2011 by Mariner Books. 357 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Solo

Kirkus Reviews

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Khatuna and her poet brother meet Boris in New York, where the musician becomes a runaway success.

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The New York Times

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The 100-year-old Bulgarian man at the center of Rana Dasgupta’s new novel is witness to the altered Eastern European dream.

Feb 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

The Guardian

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Rana Dasgupta's first novel, Tokyo Cancelled, was a modern Canterbury Tales that saw 13 passengers, stranded in an airport, telling stories to get through the night.

Mar 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Solo

The Guardian

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So that, like Ulrich, we can sift through those hundred years when "the world itself has become nonsense", and see more deeply into the "great black ocean of forgotten things".

Mar 28 2009 | Read Full Review of Solo

BC Books

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A remarkable book which breathes life into the uncertainties, confusion and questioning of the postmodern age.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

BC Books

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Continued on the next page Page 1 — Page 2 — Page 3 — Page 4 — Page 5 — Page 6

Apr 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

BC Books

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Continued on the next page Page 1 — Page 2 — Page 3 — Page 4 — Page 5 — Page 6

Apr 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

The Globe and Mail

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Rana Dasgupta's literary novel about memory and loss lives up to the award it won and the hype is has generated

Aug 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Solo

Dallas News

whereas the language in the first part of the novel reveals just enough awkwardness to suggest that it’s a translation or that it was written by a non-native English speaker, the second part rolls out smoothly in beautifully crafted sentences.

Apr 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

Scotsman.com

A BULGARIAN CALLED ULRICH IS looking back on his life.

Apr 02 2009 | Read Full Review of Solo

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

The second part, despite a certain flashy vulgarity, is not uninteresting, but you have to get through the first part in order to reach it — 160 pages devoid of music, poetry, or inner beauty.

Mar 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

The New Yorker

Online version of the weekly magazine, with current articles, cartoons, blogs, audio, video, slide shows, an archive of articles and abstracts back to 1925

Mar 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

Publishing Perspective

Ultimately, Solo suggests the life of the mind can be just as soul-sustaining as the life of day-to-day reality: “Thinking back, [Ulrich] is surprised at the quantity of time he spent in daydreams.

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

The Blurb

(I’d love to read a novel, or even a story, based on this summary.) These fable-like vignettes occur throughout the book - the scene of killing a pig which opens the second part of the book is a particular highlight - and I wondered if Dasgupta wasn’t more comf...

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The Paris Review

The whole thing is a parody of itself: “off he rides on his noble steed,” it says in fairytalese, “to wake his love with love’s first kiss and prove that true love conquers all.” The film climaxes with a great thwack-out between the prince and the wicked witch, a battle that is won with the prick...

Feb 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Solo

Reader Rating for Solo
76%

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