Title: Gods, Demons, and Others
Author: R. K. Narayan
India is home to some of the greatest legends and epics. With an abundance of philosophical significance, these myths, legends, and epics are an important part of the identity of India. They are of common knowledge to the people in our country, as we have heard them get passed on through the ages. So, when a contemporary author gives a retelling, it really needs to stand out to appeal to the readers.
Usually, poets retell epics reveling in the brilliance of their language, and the tones of rhythms. But, Gods, Demons, and Others by R. K. Narayan is one of the most delightful prose retelling of some great Indian mythological stories. The stories capture some of the significant characters and personalities in the epics and myths. The stories cover fifteen main characters across different mythic stories, and are grouped into five parts in the book according a common theme of relevance their stories share. They include stories of Yayati, Vishwamitra, Ravana, strong female characters such as Savitri, Draupadi, Shakuntala, and others.
It is a brilliant, and delightful book that can serve as a great introduction to all about the Indian mythological stories. Though, the stories are in line with the original narratives, but they are not a translation. Simple and beautiful, R. K. Narayan's lucid writing captures the passion of various incidents and emotions such as war, marriage, celebrations, virtues, births and deaths through the various stories.
It is a pleasure to read if you are familiar with the stories. And, if you're not, then it may be a wonderful start!