Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata

Sku: 9789351772828

Available At: Hauz Khas
  • ISBN: 9789351772828
  • Author: Nair Karthika
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Pages: 288
  • Format: Paperback

Book Description

'In this retelling of the Mahabharata from the point of view of its hitherto minor female characters Karthika Nair uncovers a seminal feminist text. Until the Lions makes dazzling use of concrete verse and surreptitious rhyme to tell a story you think you know. By poem's end you understand with gratitude that you know nothing and the old world has been made new. This is nervy and accomplished poetry. Listen.'

- Jeet Thayil

'Karthika Nair has given us the most eloquent meditation on the Mahabharata in this generation-- a lyrical unflinching exploration of the souls embodied in many of the great epic characters a moving and intricate weaving together of their destinies and desires a stunning attempt to create a language commensurate with those destinies and a profound lament for the suffering that all human beings must know. In her hands the ancient epic assumes new life one that is somehow close to our own experience of the world familiar yet also utterly strange and new. Hers is a voice of clarity and passionate empathy; no one has read the Mahabharata this way before her.'

- David Shulman

'Karthika Nair explores the contrapuntal stories of the Mahabharata in a virtuoso collection of dramatic monologues queens warriors sages slaves and peasants even wolves have their say as the tales of rulers and lovers parents and children gods and humans are retold in metered prose and poetic forms of myriad origin: the Spanish glosa the Malay pantoum the Provencal sestina the Pashtun landay shaped stanzas and nonce forms. This is a glorious work of storytelling and a poetic tour de force.'

- Marilyn Hacker

In Until the Lions Karthika Nair retells the Mahabharata through multiple voices. Her poems capture the epic through the lenses of nameless soldiers outcast warriors and handmaidens but also abducted princesses tribal queens and a gender-shifting god. As peripheral figures and silent catalysts take centre stage we get a glimpse of lives and stories buried beneath the edifices of god and nation heroes and victory; a glimpse of the price paid for myth and history--all too often interchangeable.

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