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New Directions Publishing, 1967 - Fiction - 244 pages
8 Reviews
Raja Rao's Kanthapura is one of the finest novels to come out of mid-twentieth century India. It is the story of how Gandhi's struggle for independence from the British came to a typical village, Kanthapura, in South India. Young Moorthy, back from the city with "new ideas," cuts across the ancient barriers of caste to unite the villagers in non-violent action--which is met with violence by landlords and police. The dramatic tale unfolds in a poetic, almost mythical style which conveys as never before the rich textures of Indian rural life. The narrator is an old woman, imbued with the legendary history of the region, who knows the past of all the characters and comments on their actions with sharp-eyed wisdom. Her narrative, and the way she tells it, evokes the spirit of India's traditional folk-epics. This edition includes extensive notes on Indian myths, religion, social customs, and the Independence movement (given at the end of the book) which fill out the background for the American reader's more complete understanding and enjoyment.

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This may be difficult for me to read. If you are a fan of war stories, I may recommend this to you.

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I'm drawn to Mahatma Gandhi as a central character in the book and why conditions were such that he became who he was, but what really intrigues me is how much cultural background you will receive from the book according to Indian culture and traditions.

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About the author (1967)

Raja Rao was born in 1909 in Hassan, Mysore, India. After he graduated from Madras University, he moved to the University of Montpellier in France on a scholarship. He moved to the United States in 1966, where he taught at the University of Texas at Austin until 1983, when he retired as Emeritus Professor. Rao died of heart failure in 2006.

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