Arion and the Dolphin

Overview

The Story of Arion, the boy musician who rides on a dolphin's back, is told here in a wonderful mixture of prose and verse by Vikram Seth, author of the best-selling novel A Suitable Boy.

Adventurous, comic, joyful, and sad, at once, this legend from ancient Greece has a special meaning for us today. The friendship between boy dolphin, cruelly cut short when the dolphin is captured and put on display, is a theme with universal appeal. The magical combination of Vikram Seth's ...

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Overview

The Story of Arion, the boy musician who rides on a dolphin's back, is told here in a wonderful mixture of prose and verse by Vikram Seth, author of the best-selling novel A Suitable Boy.

Adventurous, comic, joyful, and sad, at once, this legend from ancient Greece has a special meaning for us today. The friendship between boy dolphin, cruelly cut short when the dolphin is captured and put on display, is a theme with universal appeal. The magical combination of Vikram Seth's words and Jane Ray's illustrations make this a book that children and adults alike will find moving and exciting.

Sailing home with a prize of gold won in a contest, Arion faces death at the hands of the crew who covet his treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This unusual picture-book retelling of a Greek legend, about a young musician who swims with a dolphin, combines verse and prose, taking its life from Seth's (A Suitable Boy) libretto for an opera also called Arion and the Dolphin. The murky plot involves a music contest, a fateful journey across the Ionian Sea and the dolphin's demise, and it may prove difficult for younger readers to follow. The stiff and often formal-sounding phrasing is also a potential stumbling block. Ray's (Noah's Ark; Magical Tales from Many Lands) foamy greens and blues and her playful perspectives provide many passages with much-needed movement, and her chiseled-faced, toga-clad characters fit the ancient setting perfectly. Kids will readily identify with a few Free Willy-esque moments here, especially when the dolphin is seized for use as a performer (it dies in captivity). However, a mild environmental theme and the pleasant visuals are not likely to hold the reader's interest for long. All ages. (June)
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
This is a retelling, based on a libretto for an opera, of an ancient Greek myth about the intertwined relationship between a boy and a dolphin. It is a tale of love and loyalty and the tragedy of death, as well as an odd kind of triumph in a bittersweet ending. The bright prose with which Seth has made his mark in the world of adult literature is evident here in the sprightly dialogue and seemingly effortless verse with which the text is sprinkled. Ray's cover and artwork turn this whimsical rendering of the myth into a jewel of a book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525453840
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/11/1995
  • Edition description: 1st American Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.33 (w) x 10.94 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Vikram Seth
Vikram Seth
Vikram Seth's prose fiction debut, A Suitable Boy, sold over one million copies worldwide despite the fact that at 1,349 pages long, it holds the distinction of being the longest single volume ever published in the English language.

Biography

Vikram Seth was born in India and educated there and in England, California, and China. He has written acclaimed books in several genres: verse novel, The Golden Gate; travel book, From Heaven Lake; animal fables, Beastly Tales; epic novel, A Suitable Boy. His most recent novel, An Equal Music, was published in 1999.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Seth:

"I used to like swimming in the Serpentine, even in the snow, but lately I've chickened out."

"I enjoy Chinese calligraphy, which I have been studying for years."

"On the whole, I'm quite lazy, and like watching Columbo or reading detective stories."

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    1. Hometown:
      Delhi, India; and Salisbury, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 20, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Calcutta, West Bengal, India
    1. Education:
      B.A., Oxford University, 1975; M.A., Stanford University, MA 1978; Nanjing University Diploma, 1982

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