Genre: Historical Fiction
A Tale Of Two Great Epics by A Good Looking MP
Mahabharata: a great, possibly fictional, epic (people will surely want to debate that) and the freedom struggle of India: a great historical reality. Mix the two and you get ‘The Great Indian Novel’ by Shashi Tharoor. Its quite an old book but some books are timeless. A friend said I should read it and I never say no to a friend…well, almost never!
Until now the name Shashi Tharoor brought words like good looking, firangi accent and Sunanda Pushkar to mind. But after reading this book, the first Tharoor I’ve read, there’s much more I can say about him. The best thing about the book is the characterisation. Although some of them are quite obvious, like Bhishma being Gandhi, some are a completely unexpected fusion. So you know both the stories, right, thats not the pull. The real fun part of the book is guessing who is who and why. The unexpected characterisations come as a surprise to begin with but as you correlate situations, reactions and actions, you understand why. The book keeps your brain working and thinking and its got nothing to do with the stories (!) as you’ve heard them already.
Tharoor has done a good job on mixing the 2 stories but a great job on the characters. I think I can read more of his books but I do need pointers. So if anyone knows of any ‘good’ Shashi Tharoor books, do let me know.
A very interesting line from the book:
”India is not a developing country but a highly developed country in an advanced state of decay.”
For more information on Shashi Tharoor or his books: