Assuming the character of a wise village storyteller, R K Narayan sits in the cool of an imaginary evening to recount the tales of the centuries. Taken from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and other Indian epics, the gods and demons, saints and sinners assume their symbolic and philosophical roles without ever losing their human characteristics. It is a measure of the author's achievement that he so subtly imbues them with his own distinctive wit and vision. This book is illustrated throughout by Narayan's brother R K Laxman, with woodcuts based on temple carvings.
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(198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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US Kirkus Review »
The noted Indian novelist, R. K. Narayan, here turns his hand to the retelling of the superb stories from the great epics of his country, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Yoga-Vasishta and others. He introduces the story-telling art by describing that of the village story-teller, who lightens the day and enlightens the spirits of the villagers who "give an impression of living in a state of secret enchantment." The tales that appear here are explanation in themselves, for with their gods, demons and mortals they whisk the reader away to a legendary world where all is possible, and good always prevails over evil. There are gods in deadly earnest and gods at sport; there are demons determined to hold dominion over mortals and conquer the gods; there are great kings seeking perfection of the spirit which alone gives peace and power; and great lovers true unto death. Rama, Vishnu in human form, comes to earth to vanquish the dreadful ten-headed demon Ravana; the terrible Mahisha is demolished by the goddess Devi created for the purpose. Chubala, wife of king Siki-Dhjava, having gained spiritual perfection before him, leads him to it by means of her magic; the devoted Savitri persuades the god of death to relinquish a soul for the first time when she pleads for the return of her husband Satyavan. The spectacle of battle, the scintillation of the supernatural, the passion and devotion and laughter of love, the quest of the spirit all combine in these legends, to provide for the general reader a sleight-of-hand diversion, for the scholar an avenue to Indian mythology. (Kirkus Reviews)
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