The Chessmaster & His Moves
The Chessmaster & His Moves : Raja Rao : Vision Books : Book (ISBN: 8170944783)
Price: Rs. 395
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The Chessmaster and His Moves is a most ambitious novel,
and like most of Raja Rao’s writing, rooted in Indian tradition, thought and
At one level The Chessmaster is the story of an impossible
love between Sivarama Sastri, an Indian mathematician working in Paris, and a
married woman which can only end in sorrow and despair. To come to terms with
its impossibility, the protaganists turn inward in their search for answer and
meaning, transforming the book into a metaphysical exploration. Amidst this
search, each and every act, big or seemingly small, gets imbued with special
meaning. Sastri’s love for the French actress, Suzanne Chantereux, or her
beguiling, effervescent compatriot Mireille, for instance, serves to underline
the differences between the East and West; while the latter seeks happiness in
the world, Sastri is looking for freedom from the world itself.
rich: in language, plot, in complexity, too, it is rich. And rich in locale and
in its large cast of memorable characters; Indian, European, African and Jewish.
By turns tender, tragic, sensuous — or filled with laughter and delight — the
book nevertheless remains utterly serious, concerned with the author’s abstract
search for the Absolute. Grand in sweep and range, and functioning at multiple
levels, the story moves from France to London, and on to the Himalayas and
Bengal and contains, perhaps for the first time ever in a literary work, a
dialogue between a Brahmin and a Rabbi: an exploration of reasons for Holocaust
and an attempt to expiate it.
"Chessmaster is an ouevre which evaluates, situates a period on many levels — a major work" —Kathleen Raine in Temenos, London
“It is to masters like Proust and Joyce that we must turn for a writer of comparable stature ... a metaphysical novel without equal in our time.” —R Parathasarathy
“Offers perhaps the broadest, deepest internationalism in fiction and enables fiction to catch up with life.” —Edwin Thumboo in World Literature Today, USA
Raja Rao has long been recognised as "a major novelist of our
age." His five earlier novels — Kanthapura (1932), The Serpent and the
Rope (1960), The Cat and Shakespeare (1965), Comrade Kirillov
(1976) and The Chessmaster and His Moves (1988) â€” and three collections
of short stories â€” The Cow of the Barricades and Other Stories (1947),
The Policeman and the Rose (1978) and On the Ganga Ghat (1989) â€” won
wide and exceptional international acclaim.
Raja Rao was awarded the 1988 Neustadt International Prize
for Literature which is given every two years to outstanding world writers.
Earlier, The Serpent and the Rope won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi
Award, India's highest literary honour. More recently, Raja Rao was elected a
Fellow of the Sahitya
Born in Mysore in 1909, Raja Rao went to Europe at the age of
nineteen, researching in literature at the University of Montpellier and at the
Sorbonne. He wrote and published his first stories in French and English. After
living in France for a number of years, Raja Rao moved to the US where he taught
at the University of Austin, Texas.
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