A great book can be great at different levels, but a bad one doesn t have that luxury Mislaid by all the hype and praise from western critics made me pick up this book Probably this is the worst book I read in a long time Pathetic plotting, miserable attempt at adapting King Lear in Indian context, lack of real knowledge on the subcontinent is so evident I got migraine by constant feel of something getting drilled into my brain I hardly write reviews, but this time thought that it was my responsibility to warn the readers so that they can spare themselves of this ordeal NOW RE read AFTER ITS INCLUSION ON THE REPUBLIC OF CONSCIOUSNESS PRIZE LONG LIST.
We That Are Young is published by Galley Beggar Press Perhaps best known as the publisher that took the risk on A Girl Is a Half formed Thing after everyone else had rejected it it went on to win the Women s Prize for Fiction , Galley Beggar Press is also the publisher of the wonderful Forbidden Line that I read earlier this year and which remains one of the most unusual books I have read in 2017.
My thanks to Galley Beggar Press for an ARC of Preti Taneja s re working of King Lear Taneja takes the story and transposes it to India This works really well it is the ideal setting King Lear ends with a speech that gives Taneja her title The weight of this sad time we must obey, Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say The oldest hath borne most We That Are Young Shall never Story Of A Billionaire Family Dynasty, Led By A Gold Plated Madman, Stewed In Corruption, Mired In Violence, Riven By Infighting, Deception And Lies The Resonances Will Be There For Anyone Who Knows King Lear Not To Mention Anyone Struggling To Come To Terms With The New World Order From The Rise Of The Religious Right Wing In India To The Trump Dynasty In The United States This Is Not Just Shakespeare Repurposed For Our Times It S A Novel That Urgently [Preti Taneja] Â We That Are Young [lds-non-fiction PDF] read Online í Matters In , And Which Will Resonate For Years To ComeJivan Singh, The Bastard Scion Of The Devraj Family, Returns To His Childhood Home After A Long Absence Only To Witness The Unexpected Resignation Of The Ageing Patriarch From The Vast Corporation He Founded, The Devraj Company On The Same Day, Sita, Devraj S Youngest Daughter, Absconds Refusing To Submit To The Marriage Her Father Wants For Her Meanwhile, Radha And Gargi, Sita S Older Sisters, Must Deal With The Fallout And So Begins A Brutal, Deathly Struggle For Power, Ranging Over The Luxury Hotels And Spas Of New Delhi And Amritsar, The Palaces And Slums Of Napurthala, To Srinagar, Kashmir Told In Astonishing Prose A Great Torrent Of Words And Imagery We That Are Young Is A Modern Day King Lear That Bursts With Energy And Fierce, Beautifully Measured Rage Set Against The Backdrop Of The Anti Corruption Protests In , It Provides Startling Insights Into Modern India, The Clash Of Youth And Age, The Hectic Pace Of Life In One Of The World S Fastest Growing Economies And The Ever Present Spectre Of Death More Than That, This Is A Novel About The Human Heart And Its Breaking Point We That Are Young has a feel to it that s not dissimilar to Salman Rushdie s recent, 2017, novel, The Golden House That s praise Both novels ultimately revolve around a big figure, a patriarch, who is revealed to be rather less worthy of the adulation that his status and visibility might indicate Preti Taneja s Devraj Bapuji to Rushdie s Nero Golden Both books shine a spotlight on an India of the latter 20th century, far removed from the deference or degradation depending on your viewpoint of the indigenous population under the British Raj.
India, the modern nation, in Taneja s account is conveyed in its vastness, diversity, poverty and cruelty It s well written and utterly convincing to this reader who hasn t experienced the country at first hand The division into five sections by character and overlapping timelines works well bringing different perspective to events taki This should have been right smack dab in my wheelhouse, given my penchant for both Indian lit and Shakespeare it s a modern retelling of Lear but I must say, despite some gorgeous prose, I found it for the most part rather tedious and almost gave up halfway through In need of much judicious editing the inciting incident of the patriarch s division of his spoils doesn t even occur into well over 100 pages into this LONG 553 pages , I was also than a little annoyed by the miniscule print of the Galley Beggar Press edition AND by the constant need to run to Google Translate, due to the many reversions to Hindi words and phrases it may instill verisimilitude, but a glossary or footnotes would have been a welcome antidote to the author s contempt for her non Indian readers As to the novel itself, sections of it are qui A modern day re telling of King Lear , We Are That Young is a brilliant exploration of greed, corruption and vice in modern India The novel follows the aristocrat cum royal family of Devraj a patriarch whose puissance dissolves once he cedes ownership of his company to his elder daughters, Garghi and Radha, only to rise, ephemerally, like a phoenix, in a haze of self righteous indignation against the corruption inherent in the company he set up, riding a wife of populism based on deep seated misogyny and malevolent nationalism, We Are That Young both eschews the limitations so often placed on Indian literature, whilst at the same time exploring the problems inherent in modern Indian society the uneven distribution of wealth, the ris ¹ We That Are Young ð I ve picked up this book as it received a lot of positive reviews here and has won Desmond Elliot prize for the first novel I have to admit I was somewhat underwhelmed The author models her book on King Lear and sets it in the modern day India In general, 2018 was the year of classic retelling by the modern authors in English language I am not big fan of the idea, though of course I admit that all the literature in a way is the retelling of the books written before At this case as well I felt quite ambivalent about King s Lear plot, and may be if I would not know about this fact, I would appreciate the book Broadly, she picks up the prototypes of the five young characters from the play and studies them Lets start with the positives the language at the beginning of the book fe
We That Are Young, by Preti Taneja, is a fabulous reworking of King Lear Having enjoyed a number of adaptations of this Shakespearean tragedy on stage I was familiar with the direction the arc of the story was likely to take This did not in any way detract from my enjoyment The book is big in size, scope and depth The action is set in modern India and offers a masterclass in the country, its people, and the stubborness and hurt inherent in wider family feuds.
The tale opens with the return of a son, Jivan, banished to America with his mother when he was thirteen years old Prior to this he had been one of five young playmates, although as the child of his father s mistress had never been permitted full integration into the privileged live Update 21 6 18 Now the well deserved winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 Congratulations to Preti Taneja and all at Galley Beggar This vibrant, epic, ambitious transplantation of King Lear to modern India is by far the longest book on the Republic of Consciousness Prize shortlist, and looks a potential winner Taneja keeps the essential elements of the familiar Shakespeare version of the story in place, but allows herself plenty of scope to explore the issues, extremes of wealth and poverty, corruption and factionalism of modern India.
It is probably easiest to list the main players with their Shakespeare equivalents Devraj Bapuji Lear a super rich magnate and owner of one of India s biggest companies, his daughters Gargi Goneril
Its most striking success to date has been in being prepared to publish Eimear McBride s A Girl Is a Half formed Thing which had taken 9 years to find a publisher and of course went on to win the Bailey s Prize We That Are Young is a debut novel by Preti Taneja a human rights advocate and