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Sufi: An enlightening tale
Sufi: An enlightening tale
Price: £1.14

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great content but needs a proof-reader, 11 April 2014
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If I were going by content alone, this book would have 5 stars. The story is written in lyrical story-teller fashion and with an engaging manner. In addition, Mr Williams raises serious issues;in a society where many have nothing and some so much that it is shameful, are 'Robin Hood' type exploits allowable, or even justified? And again; are most people concerned more with impressing others, with being liked and hiding their own vulnerability, than with truth and justice?

And there are other deeper matters discussed as well.

So why only 3 stars? Because the author has not bothered at all with grammar, spelling or even proof-reading the text. Mine was the Kindle version but the errors seem far more wide-ranging than can be accounted for by transcription. For example, a drawer in a cabinet is consistently spelled "draw"; words are omitted, 'their' becomes 'there', apostrophes appear where they shouldn't and so on and so on.

The story is suitable for children too - but I would never let a child of mine near the book for fear that they would pick up and adopt some of the errors.

If the author could only get the text properly proof-read in a new edition, he'd get 5 stars from me. But he would first need to establish whether the Afterword should really be entitled "Prologue" or whether it actually is an Epilogue!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2014 12:30 PM BST


Kalila and Dimna, Vol. 2: Fables of Conflict and Intrigue from the Panchatantra, Jatakas, Bidpai, Kalila and Dimnah and Lights of Canopus
Kalila and Dimna, Vol. 2: Fables of Conflict and Intrigue from the Panchatantra, Jatakas, Bidpai, Kalila and Dimnah and Lights of Canopus
by Ramsay Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and apposite after 2000 years, 22 Feb. 2012
How refreshing to find an age-old text which is this readable, with comments like, "If I never see you again, it will be too soon. S** off!" scattered through the book. Ramsay Wood's text is clear, concise and refreshing -- much more relaxed than in his first volume which was published in 1980.

When I first came across 'Kalila and Dimna', a collection of fables centred around 'Friendship and Betrayal' in the 1980's, I wondered then what made a 2000-year-old collection of animal fables sufficiently interesting for Doris Lessing (no less) to write such a glowing introduction to what is ostensibly a 'handbook for rulers' --- it was originally known as 'A Mirror for Princes'.

As I immersed myself in them, I quickly noticed how human were the emotions and actions of jackals, lions, bulls and others. True, there were, in that first volume, worthy precepts --- but the fables that illustrated them seemed to speak more generally to the human condition, not just to would-be rulers.

This comes across even more clearly in this second volume, subtitled 'Fables of Conflict and Intrigue'. Thus: the story of how a peace-loving alligator befriended a retired warrior-monkey and was then all but induced to eat his heart by the alligator's jealous wife: that was a warning of the power of jealousy and the importance of caution before entering someone else's territory.

But the story, as Ramsay Wood tells it, is much more: it explores the feelings of a retired warrior, a weak husband and his tortured guilt, the icy calm that is essential in situations of extreme danger if one is to get away with a whole skin, and much else besides. These animals are multi-dimensional and because they are animals, we can more easily accept what they tell us about ourselves without feeling challenged by it.

Perhaps because I was expecting it, I also found another feature of these volumes easier to absorb the second time around: the way in which many stories led into other stories, meandered there, before finally returning to the original tale. It had annoyed me to begin with --- now I saw the device as a reflection of real life, in which there are no beginnings or endings other than one's own birth and death. Everything that happens is part of an endless 'tapestry'.

Thank you, Ramsay Wood: you spin a great story.


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