Octavio Paz In Light of India

ISBN 13: 9780151002221

In Light of India

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“One of the most brilliant and original essayists in any language” (Washington Post Book World) reflects on the six years he spent in India as Mexican ambassador-and reveals how the people and culture of that extraordinary land changed his life. Translated by Eliot Weinberger.

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Review:

Anyone who knows India, or simply dreams of her, will find Octavio Paz's fascinating new book In Light of India spellbinding. Paz was Mexico's Ambassador to India from 1962 until 1968; during his six years in that ancient and multicultural country, he befriended poets, politicians, and ordinary Indians, and soaked up quite a bit of India's history and tragedy in the process. The eleven essays collected here are framed by an introduction and a farewell, and divided among three sections entitled "Religions, Castes, Languages," "A Project of Nationhood," and "The Full and the Empty." In each, Paz weaves the strands of religion, art, culture, and politics as he takes the reader on a tour of India's past and present.

Paz writes with great authority on a variety of subjects, from architecture and poetry to the history of Hindu-Muslim relations on the subcontinent. But some things are beyond the comprehension of an outsider. Though he makes a heroic attempt to explain the intricacies of the caste system, the tragedy of the untouchables remains problematic. This book conveys an India at once seductive and perilous, one that will hold your interest and inspire your wanderlust until the very last page.

About the Author:

Octavio Paz was born in 1914 and died in 1998. The author of eighteen books, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.

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