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A Book of Memory: Confessions and Reflections

Sudhir Kakar, Viking, 2011, 328 p, ISBN : 9780670084111, $28.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Book of Memory: Confessions and Reflections

Sudhir Kakar, India’s most celebrated psychoanalyst, an inspired observer of the Indian psyche and a distinguished novelist, was born in 1938 in Nainital. He spent his childhood in the many provincial towns of undivided Punjab, where his father was a magistrate in the colonial government. In a personal memoir that is woven into the loop of larger life-histories of a nation and a people Kakar paints a sensuously detailed portrait of an Indian childhood while reflecting on the complexities of family life.

Abandoning a successful career at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Kakar trained as a psychoanalyst at the Sigmund Freud Institute, Frankfurt, and set up a clinic in Delhi in 1975. His simultaneous engagement in research, writing and clinical practice led him to embark on a lifelong search for the wellsprings of Indian identity and to establish the new discipline of cultural psychology.

In keeping with Kakar’s belief in the primacy of desire, this memoir grapples with not only crises of identity and intellect, but also the ecstasies and vicissitudes of erotic pleasure and love. A Book of Memory is fearless and revelatory with regard to the self and its motivations, a rare candour illuminating the urbane prose.

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