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The Home and the World [Kindle Edition]

Rabindranath Tagore
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Set on a Bengali noble's estate in 1908, this is both a love story and a novel of political awakening. The central character, Bimala, is torn between the duties owed to her husband, Nikhil, and the demands made on her by the radical leader, Sandip. Her attempts to resolve the irreconciliable pressures of the home and world reflect the conflict in India itself, and the tragic outcome foreshadows the unrest that accompanied Partition in 1947.

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About the Author

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) was a Bengali polymath. As a poet, novelist, musician, and playwright, he reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", being the first non-European to win the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore was perhaps the most important literary figure of Bengali literature and a mesmerising representative of the Indian culture whose influence and popularity internationally perhaps could only be compared to that of Gandhi whom Tagore named 'Mahatma' out of his deep admiration for him. A Pirali Brahmin from Calcutta, Tagore wrote poems at age eight. At age sixteen, he published his first substantial poetry under the pseudonym Bhanushingho ("Sun Lion") and wrote his first short stories and dramas in 1877. Tagore denounced the British Raj and supported independence. His efforts endure in his vast canon and in the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University. Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to political and personal topics. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and contemplation. Tagore was perhaps the only litterateur who penned anthems of two countries: Bangladesh and India: Amar Shonar Bangla and Jana Gana Mana.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 668 KB
  • Print Length: 94 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1503104133
  • Publisher: Start Publishing LLC (26 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AIR8CS2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #173,327 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oooops! 14 Aug. 2003
By A Customer
The Home and the World is not at all the book that you describe. It is about the young wife of a Bengali prince who discovers political ideas new to her even as a revolutionary wind sweeps the whole country. She learns that there is another, wider world beyond her own bounded universe (her home) and she learns it the hard way. It is a strikingly beautiful book that - (un)fortunately? - has nothing to do with British politics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected treasure 20 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this because of a listing I found online of books that should be read - but was interested to read this because of my first visit to India last year. The narrative is simple enough - but the triple narration, and the discussion of ideas make this truly exhilarating. Everything occurs within the palace of the Maharaja, but the whole nation of India - perhaps even the world is encompassed by what happens in this complicated triangle of relationships. And that resolution comes through self-sacrificial love, after the devotion of youth has died, is revealed as a beautiful reality that leads not to a peaceful ending, but the crucible of real action is wonderful.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oooops! 14 Aug. 2003
By A Customer
The Home and the World is a totally different book from the one you describe: it is the story of the young wife of a Bengali prince who discovers political ideas new to her even as a revolutionary wind sweeps the whole country. She learns that there is another wider world beyond her own bounded universe (her home), and she learns it the hard way. It is a strikingly beautiful book which - (un)fortunately? - has nothing to do at all with British politics!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A complex allegory 26 Aug. 2001
By Luan Gaines - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A prolific Bengalese writer, Tagore structured this novel such that three main characters represent the turbulence of the Partition that was yet to come to India in 1947. Nikhil is married to Bimala, living in the traditional domestic manner; for herself, Bimala has no expectation of her life ever deviating from her wifely path. The concept of "Swadeshi", a renewed appreciation of everything Indian, and a denial of everything British, particularly British imported goods and grains, rages throughout the country. The egocentric Sandip, a guest in Nikhil's home, is a fierce proponant of Swadeshi. Sandip finds himself passionately attracted to Bimala; he idealizes her as the epitome of "Mother" India, and pursues Bimala without reservation. Flattered by Sandip's attention, Bimala begins to question the nature of her marriage, and the three embark upon an emotional journey that will forever alter their lives, just as India begins a lengthy period of upheaval and unrest. Of the three, Sandip is transparantly shallow, while Nikhil thoughtfully considers every aspect before embarking on a course of action. Both men indulge in lengthy discourses, but the introduction by Anita Desai does much to frame this novel in the appropriate perspective. The allegorical nature of this tale is evident as the characters plunge headlong into the future.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars complex moral tale 7 Oct. 2000
By George Schaefer - Published on
This book is largely a parable about the conflicts in Bengal in the early twentieth century. Tagore uses a triangle of husband and wife and outside suitor. Bimala, the wife is a sort of central figure as the novel largely revolves around her conflicting feelings towards both her husband Nikhil and Sandip. She feels excited by Sandip's passion but also has a bond with her husband. Nikhil is the reserved and dignified religious man who is not swayed by the mob mentality that was sweeping through the Bengal state. Sandip is the passionate, xenophobic leader pushing for the immediate gain. The narrative is written threefold. All three characters take turns telling the story from their own point of view. This is an interesting effect that adds dimension to the tale. Tagore obviously feels empathy towards Nikhil but he refrains from being too judgmental toward Sandip. Bimala becomes the most sympathetic character simply because she faces the most ambivalence in the book. There are many blatant political overtures in this book but I find that it works well as human drama as well. You needn't be knowledgeable about the conflicts in India to appreciate the moral dilemmas presented in this tale. Reading this book made it easy to understand why Tagore was awarded a Nobel Prize.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult, but rewarding. 12 Jan. 2000
By "lucyvanpelt79" - Published on
Tagore is Bengali, and apparently, the Bengali style is a higly rhetorical, ornate one. Therefore, the dialogue can come off sounding stiff and unnatural, and requires some getting used to. Beyond the artifice of the language, however, the characterizations are the real strength of this book. The internal struggle of Bimala, between her noble husband, Nikhil, and the charismatic Sandip, is a beautiful parallel to the struggle the Indian people themselves have experienced, between righteous but non-violent indignation, and the frustration of an occupied land, feeding a desire for violent change. It is as this sort of parable that The Home and the World succeeds best.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant 14 May 2001
By Manojendu Choudhury - Published on
One aspect that non-Indian readers will completely fail to realise is the boldness with which Tagore used to weave his imagination based on stark solid reality. Tagore was socially ostracised for his depiction of the passion (always cloaked and shrouded in the garbs of the civilsation, norms of the society) of an honourable aristrocatic married lady, which acts as the metaphor for the passions the society was undergoing in those turbulent days of political upheaval against the British Empire. A brilliant picture of the torment of the human character caught in the web of desire of ecstacy and quest for contentment, peace and bliss, this narrative draws a beautiful parallel to the miopic frenzy of the mob in its quest for subversion with the destructive consequences of unbridled passion, and an individual's attempt to bring harmony and order in the chaos, attaining salvation. Technically brilliant, this disturbingly beautiful tale is another of Tagore's timeless creation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is the thing which happens the only truth? 29 May 2005
By A. G. Plumb - Published on
My heading for this review is a quote from this engaging novel. In some ways I now understand that indeed the greater truth may exist in the things that haven't happened, where the actions of people are imposed upon by their personal constraints - often to the detriment of all. But what a sentence for the writer to produce!!

This novel is told from the perspective of three people - Nikhil, his wife Bimala, and the activist (in the name of national India) Sandip. By hearing the story from each of them we understand their individual constraints and the drives they have, or lack, to realise their ambitions and desires. Rabindranath Tagore has not written this novel from the perspective of an all-seeing observer and this leads us - the readers - to be deeply entrenched in the individual characters' drives, passions, doubts, uncertainities and failures.

For me this is a very personal expose of my own drives, passions, doubts and failures. If only I could have the views of those around me similarly exposed - if I had some indication of their drives, passions, doubts and sense of failure I am sure that I could respond to them with greater confidence. But, of course, Nikhil, Bimala and Sandip do not have knowlege of each other's innermost thoughts (unlike we, the readers) so their struggle - all three of them - is just as difficult for them as mine is for me.

Did I end up liking any of these characters? Did I admire any of them? Was I appalled by any of them? These are questions I will not answer - read the book for yourself and you will develop your own views which may be as different for you as my constraints are as different from yours.

Here is another quote:

'What harm if you did have a wholesome fear of me? Does anybody know anybody else in this world?'
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