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The Tagore Omnibus

Each of Tagore's novels, available here in modern, lucid translations, will delight all lovers of classic fiction.

india Updated: Oct 08, 2005 14:16 IST
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The Tagore Omnibus
Fiction
Penguin Books India
Published: September 2005
Cover Price: Rs 595.00
ISBN: 0144000377
Edition: Paperback

Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore was India’s leading litterateur of the early twentieth century. Tagore was one of the country’s pioneering novelists, keen to experiment with form and bold in his choice of subjects. His novels are remembered for their innovative narrative structures, profound insights into human relationships, and evocatively lyrical language. This collector’s edition of Rabindranath Tagore’s novels in English translation brings together the writer’s best-known novels in two omnibus volumes. The first volume features three novels—Chokher Bali, Ghare Baire and Yogayog—and two novellas: Chaturanga and Malancha.

Chokher Bali (A Grain of Sand) is a classic exposition of an extramarital affair that takes place within the confines of a joint family. Asha, the simple, demure wife of the rich, flamboyant Mahendra, befriends Binodini, a vivacious young widow who comes to live with them; but both Mahendra and Binodini betray Asha’s trust and elope, leaving the marriage in ruins. Set against the backdrop of the Partition of Bengal by the British in 1905, Ghare Baire (Home and the World) is also the tale of a triangular relationship: between the liberal-minded zamindar Nikhilesh, his educated and sensitive wife Bimala, and Sandip, Nikhilesh’s friend, a charismatic revolutionary who Bimala becomes attracted to. Chaturanga (Quartet) traces the philosophical and emotional developments between Sachish, a brilliant young atheist who turns ascetic after the untimely death of his mentor, his friend Sribilash, and Damini, a young widow sheltered by the guru Lilananda, who Sachish and Sribilash become devotees of. Set in the historical context of the decline of the landed aristocracy in Bengal and the emergence of the entrepreneur class, Yogayog (Nexus) is the tale of Kumudini, the daughter of a cultured family that has fallen on bad times, who is torn between her loyalties to Madhusudan, her crass and self-serving husband, and Bipradas, her artistic and compassionate brother, as she struggles desperately to find an identity for herself. Finally, Malancha (The Garden) features the loving but childless couple Aditya and Neerja whose calm domestic world is shattered when Neerja is struck down by illness and suspects Sarala, Aditya’s childhood friend, of usurping her place both in Aditya’s heart and in their beloved garden.

Written in Tagore’s inimitable style and full of surprising turns of plot and unforgettable studies of the human psyche, each of these novels, available here in modern, lucid translations, will delight all lovers of classic fiction.