The Great Indian Novel

Overview


In this award-winning novel, Tharoor has masterfully recast the two-thousand-year-old epic, The Mahabharata, with fictional but highly recognizable events and characters from twentieth-century Indian politics. Nothing is sacred in this deliciously irreverent, witty, and deeply intelligent retelling of modern Indian history and the ancient Indian epic The Mahabharata. Alternately outrageous and instructive, hilarious and moving, it is a dazzling tapestry of prose and verse that satirically, but also poignantly, ...
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Overview


In this award-winning novel, Tharoor has masterfully recast the two-thousand-year-old epic, The Mahabharata, with fictional but highly recognizable events and characters from twentieth-century Indian politics. Nothing is sacred in this deliciously irreverent, witty, and deeply intelligent retelling of modern Indian history and the ancient Indian epic The Mahabharata. Alternately outrageous and instructive, hilarious and moving, it is a dazzling tapestry of prose and verse that satirically, but also poignantly, chronicles the struggle for Indian freedom and independence.

In this widely acclaimed novel, Shashi Tharoor has masterfully recast the 2,000-year-old epic The Mahabharata with fictional, but highly recognizable, events and characters from 20th-century Indian politics.st and randy, like a miniseries that won't quit. . . . It should entertain everyone."--Washington Post Book World.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World

Shashi Tharoor’s first novel ranks him with political satirists such as Skvorecky, Aksyonov, Voinovich, Fuentes.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The delightfully suspect and satirical tone of Tharoor's title informs and enlivens his monumental tale. In an opening disclaimer, the author cites the Mahabharata , an ancient Hindu epic, as the source of his inspiration. The story he retells, however, is also a thinly veiled account of the people and events that shaped India during the struggle for independence from British rule. Tharoor recasts these in a mythological, fictive realm, skillfully interweaving elements of traditional Eastern and Western literature. The epic, the sonnet, the novel and the folk tale all help to shape the narrative, just as history and myth, dream and reality intertwine in every chapter, calling into question the validity of categories. ``One must be wary of history by anecdote,'' warns the narrator; one must be wary of ``history'' itself, suggests Tharoor. Despite his stereotypical treatment of British and Indian characters, he animates history with the imagination of an artist and the philosophy of a sage. Throughout, Tharoor appropriates titles, phrases and figures from the work of a pantheon of ``first-world'' writers, ranging from E. M. Forster and Rudyard Kipling to Ernest Hemingway and Arthur Koestler and even including his contemporary Salman Rushdie--a subtle but potent reversal of the traditional tide of cultural colonialism. Apr.
Library Journal
Basing his convoluted story on the Mahabharata , with its 18 chapters or Parvans and similar incidents or characters e.g., a blind king; five brothers sharing one wife, Tharoor coalesces myth, dreams, folklore, religion, and legend in this first-person, near-death life narration of Ved Vyas. The reader suspends disbelief as the garrulous old man omnisciently relates secret conversations, lustful couplings, the assassination of Ganga Data read Ghandi, and the intimacies of Lord and Lady Drewpad read Mountbatten. Overambitious Tharoor amalgamates the epic's components with India's freedom struggles with Great Britain. Intermittently humorous, satiric, and fantastic, with word-play and recurrent verse, this work is most effective when discussing Data/Ghandi: his enemas, celibacy, hunger strikes, and tragic failure to bring peace and well-being to India, where today corruption and double-dealing insidiously multiply.-- Glenn O. Carey, Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611453188
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 793,041
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Shashi Tharoor was born in London and brought up in Bombay and Calcutta. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Times of India, and Foreign Affairs. A human rights activist and winner of a Commonwealth Writers Prize, he is currently a member of the Indian Parliament and lives in New Dehli, India.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    Great Indian Novel

    Making history interesting is hard and more hard if you put Mythology into contemporary history, making it a fusion. A unique and brave effort by Shashi Tharoor in bringing the Cast of Mahabharat into the Historical times of Indian Freedom struggle. Comparing 'Gangaji' and his pure white attire with Mahatama Gandhi was really appreciative with the kind of dialogue and content was well received. Some of the scenary set was hilarious because never would had anyone thought how would Krishna had reacted to the Indian freedom struggle. I completely enjoyed reading it and recommend as a humoroud read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2005

    epic within a epic

    A wonderful,cleverly written novel.A kind of book one does not want to end.I was in splits over Shashi Tharoor's metaphors and the witty dialogue.A must read for anyone who is familiar with the Mahabharat and has knowledge of India's freedom struggle and politics.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2001

    Amazingly funny !

    A parody of pre-independence India using the characters from Mahabharat. I was laughing like crazy while reading this book. One needs to be familiar with the Indian epic Mahabharat and the Indian Independence movement to enjoy this masterpiece !!

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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