Samsara: The Lore of Saraha| Book Review | The Literature TodayJune 12, 2020
Writers these days have opened themselves up to trying their hand at different kinds of themes and varying content. This has helped him in exploring the unexplored themes in writing and as a result, authors have now started experimenting with plots and writing things which were not thought of in the earlier times. One such example is of the book “Samsara: The Lore of Saraha” by Tannaya Taranna. Taranna’s book is one attempt of its kind as the action of the novel mainly happens in the world of monks. Such kind of writing has not been done much and in the light of this, Taranna’s endeavour and creativity is worth appreciating.
Life is more about making decisions. This is the basic idea that runs through in “Samsara: The Lore of Saraha”. The author begins the story by detailing the purity of the relationship between a teacher and his disciple in the characters of Yonten and his master who passes away right in the beginning. Thereafter, numerous questions surround Yonten and the readers also wonder with him what the answers to those could be. The novel later becomes about his willingness to find out the answers to all those questions and in this exploration, the readers get acquainted with Yonten as a person. He gives a fair idea about himself to the readers through his actions and his thoughts. By the end of the book, the readers feel well acquainted and familiar with the personality of Yonten.
The cover of “Samsara: the Lore of Saraha” has the picture of Buddha and the combination of colors used also comes as a relaxing site to the reader. The readers are immediately relaxed and cooled down by mind to read what is to follow as they flip through the pages. That makes the book a comfortable read and the readers are not able to keep the book down without finishing it.
Buddhist monks and monasteries are known for their silence and the serenity they have in the atmosphere and their lives. The readers feel the same calmness and peace while they read the book. Taranna has written the book in such a manner that the readers do not feel any sort of stress or burden or any sort of pressure while reading through. The author keeps the narration of a fine speed and mainly tells things through the third person narrative. This narrative technique detaches the readers from the text and as need be, they also become a part of the action when Yonten begins to talk or interact with people.
The author has structured the book in a fine manner with 31 chapters other than an introduction and a prologue. He keeps the chapters of a length that is neither too short nor too long. The language used by the author in “Samsara: The Lore of Saraha” is well written and the vocabulary is close to the understanding of an average reader. This opens the book to reading by readers of all kinds. Since it is a work of fiction and the subject is such which can be read by anyone, the book can be read and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Also, readers who want to have a glimpse of the buddhist monk’s life and understand the cultural aspects should also try reading the book.
The character of Yonten comes across as perhaps the strongest and most well-developed one. He is a man of high moral values and follows the words of his master without questioning him or even slightly doubting him. He aspires to be better to attain Samadhi is another very positive point about him. He gives the impression of a strong-minded person and giving credits to his training would not be wrong. The readers can get to learn a lot of good things from him which they may try in their lives and work for the better. The author works on developing other characters too and they contribute to make a character of Yonten an even finer one and he turns out to be more realistic than earlier.
The author does a fine job of explaining and throwing light on the life of monks and the rules they have to lead it. His work is well researched and as she states in the introduction that her main attempt was to capture the life of Saraha in a fictional form. The author uses Gabrel Garcia Marquez’s famous technique of literary writing, magical realism in her writing and blends into the context of the plot she talks about. In light of this, the effort of the author is worth appreciating and the readers can expect more such path-breaking kind of work as “Samsara: the Lore of Saraha” which focusses on innovation and exploring such beyond mainstream themes and ideas.