When her German-Jewish family decided to take in Shanti Behari Seth as their lodger, Henny's first reaction was, ‘Don't take the black man!' But an unlikely friendship soon flowered between the gentle Indian studying medicine and the tall, attractive young woman in 1930s Berlin. Then Hitler came to power, Shanti migrated to Britain and the low thunder of war began to sound over Europe. With just a month before war broke, Henny fled to London as a refugee. Waiting for her at Victoria Station was Shanti.
In Two Lives, their great-nephew Vikram Seth weaves together the extraordinary love story of the pair; their friendship, slow courtship and union; of Shanti's experiences during the war and Henny's tragic hunt for her family. And in telling their story, he brings vividly alive the great forces of history that shaped their two lives. Profoundly moving, deeply humane and superbly written, Two Lives is a masterful book from one of our greatest storytellers.