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The Root and the Flower by L. H. Myers

The Root and the Flower (1935)

by L. H. Myers

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The plan Myers adopted of framing a discussion of 20th-century people and their problems in Akbar’s India is vindicated by the freshness the novel has in this reissue fifty years after it was written. Finished when Myers was in his early fifties, it presents a mature and civilised man’s experience of picking his way among the decent and the detestable people of a sophisticated civilisation. Features of the background – the dictator state, the secret intelligence service and its ubiquitous agents, an underground movement, rival religions associated with political factions, mass executions, unexplained murders, prostitutes accidentally involved in high politics – such things have certainly not grown more remote from us since the late 1920s when the first novel of the trilogy appeared. Nor has the difficulty diminished of isolating personal moral convictions from practical politics.

The great variety of the praise the book evoked when it first appeared reflects the fact that Myers was civilised enough to suppose that an author must make his offering as attractive as conversation, not buttonholing his readers as if they had an obligation to listen to his troubles and convictions, but giving them inducements to go on reading. [...]

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. H. Myersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, PenelopeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Little Prince Jali stepped on to the balcony and looked down upon the plain in awe.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0940322609, Paperback)

Set in the war-torn world of Mughal India and first published in the gathering darkness of the 1930s, the three novels collected in The Root and the Flower are stories of intrigue, murder, and romance; of Tantric abandonment and Buddhist renunciation; of emotional delirium and spiritual adventure. This enthralling visionary trilogy is, as Penelope Fitzgerald remarks in her introduction, a "strange masterpiece," and one of the unsung glories of modern literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:20 -0400)

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