Author: Acharya Janakivallabh Shastri
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Abram
Publisher: National Book Trust
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788123761275
This much acclaimed novel that appeared in Hindi original in 1995, makes a seminal contribution to the understanding and interpretation of the life, dilemmas and times of the great classical poet Kaildasa – an understanding as consummate as the one offered by Mohan Rakesh’s take on Kalidasa titled Asadh Ka Ek Din, though completely different in its idiom and genre and with distinct intention.
Capturing the spirit of an age in Indian cultural ethos, which was highly accomplished, through various narrative devices like descriptions, dialogue and poetic expressions, the witty and animated interactions between the poet and his beloved Vidyottama present the novel also as an interesting love story of two intellectuals.
Making an insightful comment, the eminent literary scholar Prof. Damodar Thakur states, if one could put Kalidasa by the side of Iris Murdoch’s The bell or Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, we could realize somewhat what Janakivallabh Shastri has recreated – an astonishing amalgam out of his poetic experiences of life, his poetry and his complex humane, rather than critical and learned, response to the poetry of Kalidasa.”
This English translation, so painstakingly and efficiently presented by the translator, is likely to make the novel the novel accessible to the wider readership.