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The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
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The Great Indian Novel (original 1989; edition 1993)

by Shashi Tharoor

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4871232,340 (3.72)36
Member:muralijayapala
Title:The Great Indian Novel
Authors:Shashi Tharoor
Info:Arcade Publishing (1993), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fiction, pb

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The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor (1989)

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» See also 36 mentions

English (11)  French (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A good friend recommended this and I said, "Sure, Sure," and forgot about it for six months. When I finally felt sufficiently obligated to read it I sped through this alternate history of India; intoxicating is too small a word. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
Although I'm not religious, I love books that draw on religious symbolism and allusion. (For example, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials is rooted in Paradise Lost... love it to death).

So, I really enjoyed the fact that The Great Indian Novel is based on the Mahabharata. Since I know hardly anything ABOUT the Mahabharata, I'm sure a lot of the allegory was lost on me. But it was still a really interesting mish mash of religious stories and 20th century history. Funny, too.

And Tharoor pulls off something I imagine is pretty difficult...he presents Gandhi as a human being with flaws, even pokes light fun at him, but all in the spirit of admiration and love.

If you like to get your history in fiction form, this is also a great intro to the Indian independence movement. ( )
  kgib | Mar 31, 2013 |
Like no other book I've read. It's a clever, sarcastic, hopeful, cutting/biting, clever, poetic, and lyrical retelling of Mahabharata, an Indian epic, but reformulated to tell of India's past, from the end of the British Raj era till 1970/80's.

It's philosophical but accessible. And Tharoor maintains a wit and forgiving (or perhaps, accepting) tone.

The book is dense with material and reflection or commentary. I enjoyed the satirical element. So many of India's figures are presented, in light disguise, but very bare and under a critical eye. No one is spared... except the people of India

I do think knowing a good amount about India helps. I certainly chuckled knowingly at who, what and where Tharoor referred to.

( )
  ming.l | Mar 31, 2013 |
Struggled through this one for over a week and still didnt manage to finish. Story of India before and after the break with Blightly and the resultant Partition. Although fiction, the main character to bring about the break from England is a thinly drawn copy of Ghandi, down to his use of the spinning wheel, his cleaning his glasses etc with his loin cloth etc.

It was just too.......serious (although there are moments of lightness, such as how the narrator interacts with the unheard scribe taking his notes).
  nordie | Jun 17, 2011 |
A very nicely woven story comparing Indian politics before and after freedom with the epic Mahabharata. This book may infuriate the so called traditionalist Indians, but controversies aside a very enjoyable book. ( )
  aniruddhamatay | May 5, 2011 |
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Table of Contents:

The twice-born tale --The duel with the crown --The rains came --The Raj quartet --The powers of silence --Forbidden fruit --The son also rises --Midnight's parents --Him, or, The far power-villain --Darkness at dawn --Renunciation, or, The bed of arrows --The man who could not be king --Passages through India --The rigged veda --The act of free choice --The bungle book, or, The reign of error --The drop of honey: a parable --The path to salvation.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140120491, Paperback)

The Great Indian Novel takes its title not from the auther's estimate of its contents but in deference to its primary source of inspiration, the ancient epic the Mahabharata.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:11 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In this award-winning, internationally acclaimed novel, Tharoor has masterfully recast the 2,000 year-old epic, The Mahabharata, with fictional but highly recognizable events and characters from twentieth-century Indian politics. Chronicling the Indian struggle for freedom and independence from Great Britain, Tharoor directs his hilarious satire as much against Indian foibles as the bumbling of the British rulers.

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Arcade Publishing

An edition of this book was published by Arcade Publishing.

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