The Mahabharata

The Mahabharata

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"The Mahabharata" is some 3,500 years old and is the longest poem in any language. It is one of the founding epics of Indian culture and, with its mixture of cosmic drama and profound philosophy (one small section forms the Bhaghavad Gita) it holds aunique place in world literature. In this drastically shortened prose rendering, Narayan uses all his extraordinary talents to convey to a modern reader why this is such a great story. Filled with vivid characters, obsessed with the rise and fall of gods, empires and heroes, Narayan's "Mahabharata" is an enormously enjoyable experience and the perfect introduction to the otherwise bewildering Indian more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 14mm | 181.44g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • line drawings
  • 0141185007
  • 9780141185002
  • 217,401

Review Text

In this volume the Indian novelist R. K. Narayan, who has previously produced a prose rendition of the Ramayana, presents an unadorned summary of the tale of the great rivalry between the five Pandava brothers and their evil cousins, the sons of King Dhritarashtra. No unprecedented contribution - creative or scholarly - to the literature dealing with India's great epic will be found here. The book's lack of novelty is compensated for, however, by the simple and straightforward grace of Narayan's retelling, and by his good sense to stick with the frame-story and to ignore entirely the countless digressions of the original. The flow of the narrative is sometimes marred by the author's tendency to interject that "the Mahabharata may be said to be a tale of conflict" or whatever. Such interruptions suggest to the reader a college-outline plot-summary, and noticeably diminish the power of this story of deceit and vengeance. Nonetheless, Narayan's Mahabharata is a fine introduction to the mythology of the epic, particularly for those who have had no previous background in Indian classical literature. The interested reader will find here a painless dose of what may then inspire a true addiction. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About R. K. Narayan

RK NARAYAN's major works are all available in Modern Classics, including THE VENDOR OF SWEETS, TALKATIVE MAN and THE MANEATER OF more