The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor (long post)

great indian novelThe Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor is a retelling of the Mahabharata in the context of the Indian political scenario, roughly from before Independence till about the middle of the 1980s.

Incidents and characters in Mahabharata that appear: Jayprakah Drona (Minister of State for Adminstrative Reform) and his son, Aswathaman; shooting the target and other ideas as shown by Arjun (here, an English politician), Eklavya but refuses to cut off his thumb (“I’m sorry, sir, but I cannot destroy my life and my mother’s to pay your fee” (199)); Draupadi as Draupadi Mokrasi; the exile of the Pandavas (292 onwards), Hidimba, and Draupadi’s swayamvar, and game of dice.

English language by Sir Richard, “these native languages don’t really have much to them, you know. And it’s not as if you have to write poetry in them. A few crucial words, sufficient English for ballast, and you’re sailing smoothly” (37).

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Profound random quote 2

“There is, in short, Ganapathi, no end to the story of life. There are merely pauses. The end is the arbitrary invention of the teller, but there can be no finality about his choice. Today’s end is, after all, only tomorrow’s beginning.” (163)

“We are all in a state of continual disturbance, all stumbling and tripping and running and floating along from crisis to crisis. And in the process, we are all making something of ourselves, building a life, a character, a tradition that emerges from and sustains us in each succeeding crisis. This is our dharma.

Throughout this unpredictable and often painful process of self-renewal, despite the abrupt stops and starts of the cosmic cycle, the forces of destiny remain unshaken in their purpose. They are never thwarted by the jolting and jarring of history’s chariots. The vehicles of human politics seem to run off course, but the site of the accident turns out to have been the intended destination. The hopes and plans of millions seem to have been betrayed, but the calamity turns out to have been ordained all along. That is how a nation’s regeneration proceeds, Ganapathi, with several bangs to every whimper.” (245)

Shashi Tharoor, The Great indian Novel

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

cloudCloud Atlas (2004) by David Mitchell is a postmodernist novel that has been adapted into a film.

Postmodernist themes: different narrators and narrative techniques (journal writing, letters, mystery-novel, and interview; also newspaper clippings), simulacra and simulation, intertextuality (the stories are interconnected and mentioned), allusions (real and imaginary) to other literary works, consumerism (Sonmi narrative) and historicizing the characters.

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