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Novels by Indian-American writer Raja Rao you must read

With narrations from the time India was still building up, they are beautiful

An Indian-American writer of English-language Raja Rao has to his credit novels and short stories deeply rooted in metaphysics. Also, losing his mother at the young age of four had a lot of recurring themes in Raja Rao’s writing. Apart from these themes, throughout his writing career through the 1930s, a lot of Raja Rao’s writing also had a huge influence from the Indian traditional stories and folklores. Here are some of the must-read Raja Rao books.

The Serpent and the Rope

This is Raja Rao’s second novel and was first published in 1960. The book has been written in an autobiographical style and deals with the subjects of existence, reality, and fulfillment of one’s capabilities. Through the protagonist of the novel, Ramaswamy, the writer narrates his thought process. Most of his writing in the novel is said to be influenced by Vedantic philosophy, AdiShankara’s non-dualism as well as dealing with the problems of Immigrants and Immigration. In short, the novel describes young man Ramaswamy’s utmost quest searching for Truth and Self Knowledge.

The Cat and Shakespeare A Tale of India

This cute loving story narrates the tale of two friends Govindan Nair and Ramakrishna Pai. Nair is a down-to-earth philosopher and clerk, who know how to tackle the problems of routine living but with extraordinary common sense and gusto. But his refreshing and unorthodox conclusions always panic his friend Pai, who is also his neighbour and also the narrator of this very story.

The Chessmaster and His Moves

This is one of the most ambitious novels of the author. And just like most of Raja Rao’s writing, even this novel is rooted deep in Indian traditions and sensibilities. One part of the novel narrates the story of impossible love between SivaramaSastri, an Indian mathematician working in Paris, and a married woman. But their love story ends in despair and the two individually lead on a journey of searching for answers. As the story moves forward, the protagonists take a journey inward-looking for answers and meaning. This answer searching takes the narration looking into a metaphysical exploration.

Some of his other novels are Kanthapura, Comrade Kirillov, On the Ganga Ghat, The Cow of the Barricades And Other Stories, and The Policeman and the Rose Stories. Rao’s non-fiction works are Changing India An Anthology, Tomorrow, Whither India?, The Meaning of India, essays, and The Great Indian Way A Life of Mahatma Gandhi.

Nirtika Pandita

A follower of Master Oogway, living by his words of Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, which is why it is called the ‘Present’, I am trying to master the art of now. Keeping that in the center I am combining my professional prowess as a writer and nerves of a gastronaut to conquer the Saha world.
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