Read: February 2018
Adjectives To Describe This Book: Brilliant, Mad, Fierce
Retelling of Shakespearean plays in modern-day times is all the rage right now. I appreciate it, but sometimes I’m not too sure what to think of it. I have heard of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, but then I heard via a book podcast that I listen to (Books on Toast), that someone has written a modern-day retelling of King Lear and my interest piqued considerably.
Why? Because King Lear might just be one of my favourite Shakespearean plays. So this book had a lot of expectations riding on it. And hoooo boy, it did not disappoint.
The book is the retelling of King Lear in modern-day India. It really is a play-by-play of the entire play and I loved it for that. A lot of authors, when doing a retelling take just the premise of the play and then run with it, but not Preti Taneja.
The book starts of when Jivan Singh, the bastard son of Ranjit Singh – the right hand man of Devraj – the founder of India’s most important company, returns to his childhood home after a long absence. On that day he witnesses the unexpected resignation of the ageing patriarch and, Sita, Devraj’s youngest daughter, absconds – as she refused to submit to the marriage her father wants for her. Meanwhile, Radha and Gargi, Sita’s older sisters, must deal with the fallout… And so begins a brutal, deathly struggle for power, ranging over the luxury hotels and spas of New Delhi and Amritsar, the Palaces and slums of Napurthala, to Srinagar, Kashmir.
Preti does an amazing job and reminds me of the Arundhati Roy of ‘The God of Small Things’ in a way – with the madness and delirium in her writing. The prose is beautiful and crazy – which is what the play is. I am not disappointed with this book at all – in fact, I’m delighted.
I recommend this book 100%. If you have read King Lear before then you’d appreciate the effort and nuance and if you haven’t, you’re in for a ride!
P.S. I’m hosting an international giveaway on my Instagram page. Make sure you check it out and take part! 🙂