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Author: Sudhir Kakar
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton/Penguin
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780670087600
In the most powerful city of the ancient world, the temple for the god of desire, Kama, towers over the temple of his destroyer, the lord of Time, Shiva. A cult of pleasure is sweeping through the land. Under the shadow of certain punishment by death, a great poet reflects on the journey of his life, and the ceaseless conflict between morality and desire.
A young man from a provincial town, Jalandhar, arrives in the magnificent city of Ujjayini. His astonishing brilliance as a poet is recognized immediately. The formidable young king of Avanti becomes the poet’s chief patron. This is the story of Bhartrihari, the greatest Sanskrit poet of love.
The poet’s fame grows at fabulous speed; his success is effortless. But the journey of his self is not as smooth: he fluctuates between sexual passion and erotic disenchantment, the appeal of the senses in war with the call of the spirit.
With acute insight and sinuous elegance, Sudhir Kakar’s best novel yet, The Devil Take Love, presents in lush detail life in seventh-century cosmopolitan India, while inhabiting the true depths of a poet’s mind and superbly evoking his distinctive voice: impassioned, sardonic, dismayed, and pensive.