Thursday, December 21, 1995

The Mahabharata

condensed and retold in prose form by William Buck

Apparently Buck worked from a translation of the original, being not much of a linguist himself, but it's supposed to be a good version, and he is a fairly good story-teller.  Once the actual story of the Pandavas kicked in, I found myself engrossed, although the tragedy of the war didn't come out except explicitly in the telling, perhaps because the Pandavas and their actions were glorified too much.

three stars

The Ramayana

condensed and retold in prose form by R.K. Narayan

The story of Rama who battles the demon Ravana to rescue his abducted wife.  This version is based on the popular 11th century Tamil version by Kamban and not the 4th century Sanskrit original by Valmiki.  Although it of course lacks much, being hugely cut from the myth- and parable-rich epic style, I enjoyed it a lot.  It is told in a readable, page-turning novelist's style.

four stars