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Book Title: The Forest of Stories|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 949 KB
v The author of the book: Ashok K. Banker
Date of issue: May 22nd 2012
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
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Read full description of the books The Forest of Stories:This review begins with the solemn hope that the love for stories never dies down as long as humanity is left on earth. To me, there is no bigger addiction/obsession/craze than stories, the lands of make-belief, characters that I will never meet in real life....all those ingredients that make up a magnificient story. But there is always a capability that I admire above writing which is the art of telling stories. You would never need to discover a movie, a documentary or any other form of visual media if you were to discover a teller of tales who could transport you to distant lands with just words to guide you through the way.
I could recollect the words that one of my favorite authors from Malayalam used in his collection of short stories : To my mother, who made me a writer out of me through only her skills at narrating tales. How many such minds would have stories moulded ? We owe a great many of our writers to this power and this power alone.
Why this long digression ? There is ofcourse the fact that Mahabharata is narrated time and again as stories within stories. This here is the tale of a storyteller (Sauti) named Ugrasrava who travels to the fabled forest of Naimisha-Aranya and meets up with the sages there. The bard then proceeds to narrate the great epic to the august crowd gathered around him. Late into the night and around the camp fire he regales them with tales that begin from the birth of the universe. But why does the crowd around him seem to increase every time he looks at them ? Was there this big a sea of faces when he began his story ? Even after the entire company of ascetics and novices at the hermitage joining the crowd, why does he feel even the forest itself is listening in to the tale ? The forest was ages ago, the fabled land where the Pandavas and Kauravas met in mortal combat. And as the night wears on, the spirits of the dead ones arrive at the hermitage to listen to the great bard. Such was the magic of the story and to someone irrevocably addicted to this epic like me, this feeling is a very understandable one.
This here is the Adiparva of the Mahabharata. Which is to say that it does to the epic what Genesis does to the Old testament. It begins at the time when the universe we know comes into existence. Tells us of the gods, demons and legendary monarchs. Then of the mighty serpents and the creatures of myth and later to the tales of the women and men who make up this hefty tome. There is Parashurama who traversed the Earth twenty one times to massacre the arrogant race of Kshatriyas, there is the legendary Garuda who true to his word battles the forces of heaven to free his mother from slavery and lot many other interesting characters. All this leads us to the legendary emperor named Bharatha ( not to be confused with Rama's sibling from Ramayana) from whom begins the line of Kuru kings who ages later meet on the plains of Kurukshetra to annihilate each other. Now if this isn't fascinating then I do not know what is !
So much about the story line, so you may ask how is the writing ? To me, it was in pace with the original work. Having once read an unabridged and translated version of the Adiparva from Sanskrit, I could find that the author stuck very close to the epic. Unlike his Ramayana retelling, Ashok Banker takes very few creative liberties here except for maybe a few battle scenes. I could see traces of his style from his earlier works in the battle scenes of Parashurama, the death of Parikshit and in the Shakuntala-Dushyanta yarn. Reading the Parashurama angle did give me a pause for it seemed to have reflections of Moorcock's Elric and his blade Stormbringer. The rating of four stars here is for the stories themselves which start of looking like they are all over the place and gradually but surely appear to become beads from a single huge ornament. An ornament which takes its sweet time to appear before us. However, I felt the author dragging the tale along for a bit towards the end which could have been avoided. Something a good editor could have trimmed and shaped up !
Now I do not know how many of you are aware of this little snippet from the epic. It appears arrogant (and rightly so) and speaks about the power of the Mahabharata and its influence on the world :
Yadihasti tadanyatra yannehasti natat kwachith
It translates to : What is here is elsewhere; what is not here is nowhere.
Amen to that !
Read information about the authorAshok is an internationally acclaimed author of mixed-race and mixed-cultural parentage based in Mumbai, India.
His Epic India Library is a lifetime writing plan that aims to retell ALL the major myths, legends and itihasa of the Indian sub-continent in an interlinked cycle of over 70 volumes.
This includes the Ramayana Series, Krishna Coriolis, the Mahabharata Series, the contemporary thriller Blood Red Sari and other works.
His books have sold over 1.4 million copies in 12 languages and 57 countries worldwide.
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