Format Type: PDF, ePub
Read Online: 1029
G.V. Desani broke his silence forty years after the appearance of his classic novel, All About H. Hatterr, with this volume of twenty-three stories and one long prose poem, only the second full-length book of his fiction ever to be published. Many of the stories appeared first in literary anthologies and magazines over the past thirty years, including The Noble Savage (edited by Saul Bellow), Illustrated Weekly of India, Transatlantic Review, and Boston University Journal. The stories are mostly written in the humorous mode of his novel, relying upon comic timing and his keen sense of the incongruities in contemporary life. They often captivate in the same way as Indres Shah's Sufi learning tales, and the titles alone convey a sense of the interpenetration of India's cultures: "Suta Abandoned," "Mephisto's Daughter," "The Second Mrs. Was Wed in a Nightmare," "Gypsy Jim Brazil to Kumari Kinshino," "Country Life, Country Folk, Cobras, Thok," ..".Since Nation Must Export, Smithers," "The Lama Arupa." Whether send-ups of colonialism or lampoons of conventionality, there is a seriousness to Desani's comedy that crosses cultural boundaries and racial identification. The long prose-poem, "Hali," was originally issued in 1950, adapted for the stage in London, broadcast several times over BBC radio, and then, after being pirated three times, was suppressed by the author for twenty years until this publication. "Hali" is a complementary opposite to All About H. Hatterr: it is the writer's vision of cosmic creation and human destiny, marrying Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and other Indian religious traditions into a cathartic drama. E.M. Forster said of it: "Private mythologies are dangerous devices. You have succeeded wonderfully... It keeps evoking heights above the summit of normal achievement where the highest aspirations reach." The Times Literary Supplement termed it "haunting," and The Librarian declared it "as near a work of genius as one can judge." This is the definitive fourth edition, and also the first authorized U.S. publication of this work.