To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Solo Hardcover – February 1, 2011
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
More About the Author
His first book, "Tokyo Cancelled", was published in 2005. Narrated by travelers stuck for a night in an airport, "Tokyo Cancelled" is a cycle of folktales about our contemporary world of globalization, corporations, film stars and illegal immigrants. It was short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Vodafone Crossword Award.
"Solo" came out in the UK in 2009 and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Set in Bulgaria, "Solo" follows the life and daydreams of a melancholy centenarian, so embarking on an epic exploration of science, memory, music and failure. "Solo" has been translated into twelve languages and will be available in the US in February 2011.
"Capital: the Eruption of Delhi", his most recent book, is a non-fiction portrait of Rana Dasgupta's adopted city.
REVIEWS OF "TOKYO CANCELLED"
"Only the most gifted writers can hold the surreal and the real in satisfying equilibrium. This elite now welcomes Rana Dasgupta to its ranks" - Time Out
"Brilliantly conceived and jauntily delivered" - San Francisco Chronicle
"These stories ... ah, they outdo the Arabian Nights for inventiveness. One closes the book with head spinning" - The Guardian
REVIEWS OF "SOLO"
"Solo is ... utterly unforgettable in its humanity" - The Guardian
"A necessary as well as a timely novel" - Sunday Business Post
"Weird, wonderful and warmly wise" - Daily Mail
"This is an important work" - The Australian
REVIEWS OF "CAPITAL"
an "intense, lyrical, erudite and powerful book... Dasgupta has provided a welcome corrective to the reams of superficial travel writing describing the whimsical, the exotic, the booming or simply the poverty-stricken in India. His is a much more complex, darker story." - The Guardian
Top Customer Reviews
Solo has a haunting quality that continues to stay with me. I can't seem to find the words to describe the book's impact on me. It moved me; it repelled me; it gave me pause; it raised familiar questions concerning reality and dream, thought and mind, what dies or what remains. It is a stunning reading experience, rich in narrative and poetic in prose. It is a novel I am eager to return to again and again because I know I will make new discoveries with each reading.
Solo is both a vehicle for philosophical and psychological musings and a sweeping narrative through history and culture. Literary analysis may engage the book's meaning but will fail to illuminate the spell it can cast on the willing reader. It is a novel of science, of ideas, of poetry, of music. It is written with dreamlike lyricism and emotional intensity, a novel in two movements ~ "Life" and "Daydreams."
"Life" represents the story of Ulrich, a one hundred year old blind Bulgarian man, nearing the end of his life, living minimally and alone in a decaying public housing apartment in modern day Sofia. Through the care and generosity of neighbors, Ulrich has survived. His primary entertainment is his television which keeps him informed of every kind of "modern wisdom.Read more ›
First Movement is "Life." It opens in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, in the Balkans of Eastern Europe. And it introduces us to the exceptionally long-lived Ulrich, he's almost 100 years old and now blind, and he's the son of a successful railway engineer who admired the Germans. It opens early in the twentieth century, before World War I, which was begun in the Balkans. His father comes back from that war a cripple, and then we are in the expansive 1920s. Ulrich loves music, but his father won't tolerate that as a career choice: the boy's also interested in chemistry, and his father sends him to Berlin to study with the world's greatest chemists, such as Fritz Haber, while Albert Einstein, world's most famous mathematician, wanders the halls. But then comes the stock market crash of 1929; Ulrich's father's holdings evaporate, and the son is called back to Sofia to support his family. The Depression 30s are rather glum, as you might expect. Then comes World War II and occupation of the country by the Germans, also a rather glum period, as you might expect. The end of World War II brings the Russian invasion and occupation - this for many years. And the situation is even glummer, as you might expect. First thing to be said is, if Dasgupta didn't actually live in Bulgaria for a while, it must have required a considerable amount of research, and powers of imagination, to give us such a vivid take on the capital and the country, and I congratulate the author.Read more ›
These make up the second half of the book, and restore at least some of the music that had vanished completely from the first part. But it is a savage music, a grotesque scherzo. It begins almost as a series of short stories: a feral boy living alone in an abandoned factory playing on an old fiddle, the beautiful but impoverished daughter of a former princess who marries a Georgian gangster and takes on much of his ruthlessness, and an American record producer credited with the invention of world music as a popular genre. Eventually, these strands interweave. Dasgupta has gifts as a storyteller, and there is a color, an energy, a wild poetry here that the first part lacks. But his momenta of ecstasy go over the top, and there is too much reliance on drugs, alcohol, and sex. None of these characters is entirely likeable, and this second part also reflects the wanton hardness, squandering of resources, and disregard for humanity that made the first part so distasteful.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
`Solo' is a book I didn't expect. In reading the synopsis of a man obsessed with music and chemistry, I had a feeling that in parts this would be dry and uninteresting. Read morePublished on August 8, 2012 by Andrew Ellington
In Solo, Rana Dasgupta puts words together in a way much older than his age. I'm not saying it's more mature, I mean he created two different stories of a one hundred year old... Read morePublished on July 18, 2012 by JO
Ras Dasgupta's novel "Solo," is a beautiful novel that explores the real versus the imagined. The novelist explores the life of Ulrich, a blind centurion. Read morePublished on April 19, 2012 by silhouette_of_enchantment
One line summary of the story/ plot: it's about the thoughts and reminiscences of a 100-yr old Bulgarian man called Ulrich, traversing his life and the world around him. Read morePublished on April 8, 2012 by Sheetal Bahl
The author writes well, but I found the book boring. After reading the first half, I stopped. He describes the protagonist well, but there is little about this protagonist or his... Read morePublished on January 2, 2012 by slip
I can't stop thinking about this book. It is in two parts, and could actually be considered two books. Read morePublished on August 10, 2011 by Too Many Cats
Reading this book was a joy, especially the first part. The heartfelt story of an old man and his life was superbly put together. Read morePublished on July 28, 2011 by BronxRev
This is a tough book to summarize, to synthesis a paragraph description that is at all useful to a potential reader. Read morePublished on July 26, 2011 by Michael A. Duvernois
The Book Report: It's very tough to reduce this book to a synopsis. Ulrich, born in the dawning years of the 20th century in Sofia, Bulgaria, is the thwarted and stunted son of a... Read morePublished on July 6, 2011 by Richard Derus