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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Narayan's Ramayana
As a fan of Narayan's work, I was fascinated to see how he would tackle the grand subject of the Ramayana, a work that runs through and certainly influences all of Narayan's stories. The result is one of his most delightful and beautifully written novels. I think it is important to approach this book not as "THE" Ramayana, but one storyteller's unique vision of...
Published on June 9 2002 by Joshua Grasso

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2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing Version of a Great Epic
Given the extensive length and painstaking detail of the original Ramayana, I welcomed the idea of a shortened prose version. Unfortunately, Narayan's version is poorly executed. First, he never quite manages to settle into a specific way of telling the story. Sometimes he writes as though he intended this to be a text book relating the events and variations of...
Published on Sept. 4 2000 by David Messmer


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Narayan's Ramayana, June 9 2002
By 
Joshua Grasso (Oxford, OH USA) - See all my reviews
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As a fan of Narayan's work, I was fascinated to see how he would tackle the grand subject of the Ramayana, a work that runs through and certainly influences all of Narayan's stories. The result is one of his most delightful and beautifully written novels. I think it is important to approach this book not as "THE" Ramayana, but one storyteller's unique vision of the timeless epic--even as a variation on one of his Malgudi novels (the characters certainly bare a distinct resemblance). Narayan's writing is extremely sensitive, refined, yet full of humor and charm. Throughout he adopts the tone of a storyteller, openly acknowledging that he is only "retelling" a story by a much greater storyteller, and leaving out the juciest parts at that. His little asides where he explains, "And here the poet described the scene so touchingly..." are at once reverent and amusing, as Narayan wisely omits anything too excessive or poetic that might derail his narrative. But the story itself is wonderful, a colorful, full-blooded telling of the Ramayana, sparse, fast-moving, but with all the hallmarks of Narayan's style. This book is a must for any fan of Narayan's fiction, Indian writing, or mythology. Narayan effectively conveys the epic's timelessness, with characters and situations that echo throughout literature and film, full of profound human emotions. And this is always one of Narayan's chief strengths, to create believable, complex human characters. In his treatment, even Rama and Sita emerge as sympathetic individuals, not the cardboard cut-outs all too common given their extraordinary powers. In short, this is a magical and engaging work that I know I will read again and again in the years to come. I invite you to do the same!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Story out of a Great Epic., April 8 2002
By 
Xavier Thelakkatt (Dayton, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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The story of Ramayana is in the blood stream of everyone from India. The original epic was written in the 4th century BC in Sanskrit, by Valmiki. Poets in every Indian language have retold this story. This present book relying on the Tamil Kamban version, presents before the reader the essential story of Ramayana. R.K Narayan, with the command of the English language and love for fast story movement, narrates the kernel of the epic poem in an engaging manner, for the sake of the English reader not familiar with the original version. Naturally, some of the elaborate details had to be left out and some narratives had to be condensed. This made the enormous epic into an enjoyably gripping story, in less than 200 pages.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing Version of a Great Epic, Sept. 4 2000
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Given the extensive length and painstaking detail of the original Ramayana, I welcomed the idea of a shortened prose version. Unfortunately, Narayan's version is poorly executed. First, he never quite manages to settle into a specific way of telling the story. Sometimes he writes as though he intended this to be a text book relating the events and variations of the original story. At other times, he writes as though he is a story teller himself. This uncomfortable juxtaposition detracts from the flow of the book. Also, while I realize that this is intended as a shortened version, I think Narayan goes too far. 171 pages is not nearly sufficient to adequately convey the stories and their intricacies. Narayan skips between detailed passages and quick, choppy narratives which ends up being distracting and interupts the book's continuity. Finally, I was appalled by the frequent gramatic errors in the book. Most noticeable were the dangling prepositions scattered throughout the text, which prove very distracting. All of these problems combine to make this book an unrewarding read as well as a shoddy version of a wonderful epic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Retelling, June 5 2000
This is a condensed version of not the original Ramayana as handed down to us in Sanskrit, but of the Tamil version of the story that Sri Narayanji grew up with. There are versions of the Ramayana in nearly all Indian dialects and languages, and as Tamil is one of the oldest, it is also quite interesting to see a translation from that language. The tale is told fairly faithfully, although much is left out (this is necessary to avoid having to sell several volumes to tell the whole tale, as the original tale is HUGE). I thought that it may have been a rather boring story, especially to a modern reader, but boy, was I ever wrong! This was one of the most entertaining and gripping books that I have ever read. It tells the story of Ramachandra's youth to his betrayal by his stepmother, his journey in the desert, and how he defeated Ravana, who had kidanapped Sita and brought her to Sri Lanka, as well as Hanuman's revelries. Rama is still an excellent example of Hindoo ideals, but the primary value of the story for me was not so much religious or ethical as much as it was simply a fascinating journey into the vast world of Indian literature. A wonderful read; I would recommend it to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An ancient epic retold to modern man without compromise., Sept. 12 1996
By A Customer
Ramayana the ancient epic tale of India most popular in a hundred forms like music, dance, art and folklore is narrated in this book by a story teller who has a very suitable traditional background and deep insight into the religious, social and political values upheld in there. The easy flowing language and the appropriate usage of words as in all his novels add to the flavour.This book can be read and reread many times like many devout Hindus read the original sanskrit version of it
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4.0 out of 5 stars fiction translation of the epic of Rama, Nov. 26 1996
By A Customer
The book accurately translates the epic of journey of Rama with fluidity and is a joy to read. Though the translation is good, much of the of Hindu poetry is lost and therefore a vital part of Hindu culture is missing in the translation.
I would have liked to see more of music of India come through.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This book was choppy and not told in a sofisticated manor., June 23 1999
By A Customer
I found the tale of Rama was a great tale but the way in which it was summarized was poor. The author left out important details and added not so important facts.
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The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic
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