The modern retelling of ancient tales generally makes for a spurious king of literature
It's no good unless the stories can be made first-hand again, dragged up out of the artist's own invention again, and that hasn't often happened outside poetry. But it's happened here. These are far and away the best retellings of Indian tales that I've read, and I've read some hundreds.
Ted Hughes, the New York Review of books
Here is R.K. Narayan's delightful selection of stories from India's vast treasure-house of myths and legends handed down through the ages. Drawing his stories from The Ramayana, The Mahabharata and other great Indian epics, Narayan tells the tales as they might by recounted by the wise village storyteller.
In the legends, where all things are possible, one thousand years seem only a second, and good ultimately triumphs over evil. The Devi, who is the personification of the highest beauty and energy, vanquishes the demon Manisha who has invaded the heavens: Manmata, the god of love, is burned up physically when he enrages the austere god Shiva. Yama, the god of death, s persuaded for the first time to relinquish a soul when the mourning but determined Savitri pleades for the return of her husband.
The spectacle of battle, the fascinating mystery of the supernatural, the passion. Devotion and laughter of love, the quest of the spirit for eternity-such are the ingredients of legends. And Narayan's retelling evokes them all with superb skill to provide the reader a treasury of enchanting myths which have for centuries painted the landscape of Indian life and mind.
"His appeal is timeless and very, very great."
About the Author
R.K. Narayan was born in Madras in South India and educated in Mysore which has also been his home for over half-a-century now. Narayan is one of India's most distinguished writers at work today. Through his several novels and short stories, he has created the enchanting fictional world and , more recently, millions of Indian television viewers who saw TV adaptations of several of his Malgudi stories.
Narayan's books are regularly published in USA, UK and India and have also been widely translated into several European and Indian languages. His novel The Guide (1958) won the Sahitya Academy Award, India's highest literary honour. In 1980, Narayan was awarded the A.C. Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature and in 1982 he was made an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1986, he was nominated for a 6 yrs. Term to Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian Parliament in recognition of his outstanding literary stature, Apart form Gods, Demons, and others R.K. Narayan has also retold the great Indian epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana which are also available in Vision Books.
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