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Ka [Paperback]

Roberto Calasso
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 Nov 1999

It is the essence of Roberto Calasso's particular genius to have evolved a unique way of reconstructing the imaginative heart of some of the world's greatest cultures. In The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony it was the 'Greekness' of classical culture; in Ka he gives us the 'Indianness' of the mind of India, but in an Indian way. He does not describe or explain this mental world: he regenerates it through its stories and customs.

Who is Ka? And who is the immense eagle who asks this question, filling the sky, an elephant and a giant turtle in his claws? How can he be the child of woman? Who are these tiny folk he eats? The first impact of Ka is one of tremendous strangeness, bewilderment, disorientation. Slowly, however, the strange becomes familiar and - as Ka folds and enfolds the world of the Deva and the Seven Seers, of Siva, Brahma and Visnu, the wars of the Mahabharata, and finally the advent of the Buddha - we are amazed at our own recognition. These stories lie so close to the grain of our own experience that they confirm, or for the first time articulate, our own deepest perceptions about our condition.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (4 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099750716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099750710
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Ka is a dizzying, erudite incursion into sacred texts, which throbs with erotic, violent and enigmatic tales" (Independent)

"The very best book about Hindu mythology that anyone has ever written" (Wendy Doniger)

"An elegant compendium of classical Indian myths and legends...no cotemporary Indian writer would be able to match such erudition and originality as Calasso displays in Ka" (Independent)

"To read Ka is to experience a giddy invasion of stories - brilliant, enigmatic, troubling, outrageous, erotic, beautiful...these stories are superbly narrated" (New York Times Book Review)

Book Description

'If you want a dazzling, complex, erotic and utterly original European novel of ideas, Calasso is your man, and Ka is his masterpiece' Sunday Times

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where every word is like poetry 23 Jan 2011
By Pritya
Format:Paperback
Hindu Mythology comes alive in the pages of this book. Beautifully written, Calasso is indeed gifted with research & expression. Every word, every story and every insight within the book filled me with such joy...a book I can read again & again. A must-add to one's collection for oneself and as a gift to those you love.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a magical view on indian myths..engrossing 9 Aug 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
the book drew me in and kept me there right to its ultimate enument....startling insights into the hindu myths combine with wondrous story telling to make this one of my favourite reads last year...the unpatronizing outsiders tone adds to its character
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incomprehensible 22 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback
Perhaps if you are already a student of Hindu myths and stories or have been a student for many years or have studied the Gita then it may be easier - but this is certainly not for a beginner. It is not in 'novel' form (as they have told us on the cover to encourage us to buy it) - it is a series of ancient stories that are partly to do with the nature of our mind and partly seem to be narrative of some kind, but, for this reader anyway, I knew that I stood very little chance of being able to remember the characters (there are 100s). Disappointed I abandoned the book after 100 pages.

What most irritated me is that after the months of work of the author and the translator the publishers haven't even bothered to give us any kind of introduction to the material we are reading. And even the few comments on the cover (which is all the guidance the reader has) are misleading. On the front cover they have used a quote from Wendy Doniger 'The very best book about Hindu mythology that anyone has ever written.' I do wonder whether Wendy read the book before she gave the publishers this quote because sure this is not a book 'about' Hindu mythology - it is a book 'of' Hindu mythology?

The only other place to turn for help is the back cover where a review from the Independent tells us that the book is 'an elegant compendium of classical and Indian myths and legends' (not the same as Ms Doniger's description at all.) But what is myth and what is legend? What is taken straight from sacred Hindu texts and if so which ones? What are we reading and how are we to read it?

So - utterly confusing and for the publishers not to have provided any kind of guide for the perplexed (after all I bought the book hoping to find what was described on the cover) is as utterly bewildering as the book itself.

I lay the book aside with sadness. But this is really not for a beginner.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prompt delivery, good quality 17 Oct 2013
By Giedre
Format:Paperback
Can't wait to read this. Prompt delivery and great quality for a used book. Great seller.
I ordered this book after reading great reviews on Goodreads and willing to learn more about India's mythology
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Evocative rendering 24 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
With all the characteristic displacement of modern story-telling, Calasso's narration of myth seems, in its somewhat clumsy organization, a botched effort. However, it is a sensual and engaging interpretation of ancient Indian myth, and it survives on its strength as an personal interpretation and not a powerful invocation of a country's mythic past. As a raconteur, his ability to "feel" and convey Sukanya's longing, Shiva's maverick personality, or Krishna's eternal homesickness for Gokul, was something I never felt as poignantly before while reading Indian writing of myths. I can only remember my grandfather's narration of the story of Bhisma and Hidimba as evocative as any myth in "Ka". I think it is, overall, an amazing research and re-interpretation. He seems to "reveal," in a Heideggerean sense, the nature of myth through his own experience.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars KA........the middle syllable 3 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
highly interesting...........hats off to calasso, for interpreting sanyathan dharma, while preserving it's authenticity. Some parts of the book, can be very complicated, for people not familiar with sanyathan dharma, but remember this......the whole dharma, is based on what our rsis (seers) saw within their own body. The chapter on Prajapati, is well explained. Compare it to your own mind, remembering the dharma's basis, that we are a microcosm of the entire universe, and that all it's secrets, can be found within us. Thank-you calasso and parks, for a wonderful book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding work, the best, if not unique! 11 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In the manner of Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Ka is an exposition of the inner meaning of Indian mythology, theology. It has a brilliance that comes directly from what Roberto Calasso writes about. In our world that has so little understanding of what the ancient world was, reading Calasso is an inspiration. Spend time with this book and reread many times. Best regards, Kalev Pehme
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So fun to read! 24 Oct 2012
By Gary Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On the front of the book there is this quote from Wendy Doniger: "The very best book about Hindu mythology that anyone has ever written" That is so true.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent meditation. 6 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Calasso conveys the sense that myths infuse our memories. Like memories, they are fragmentary and elusive, but their residue lingers. Indian myths are about retelling stories. If you are not bothered by the lack of a traditional narrative structure, you will enjoy this retelling.
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