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Paper Topic:

Essay on A River Sutra

Author 's Name

A River Sutra


December 2007

Literary Essay on A River Sutra by Gita Mehta

While Gita Mehta 's previous books focused on the interactions between India and the Western world , in A River Sutra , the author took a new direction in her writing . To accomplish focus by exploring the diversity of cultures within India , Mehta presented seemingly unconnected themes and stories in this novel such as about the Hindu and Jain ascetics courtesans and minstrels , diamond merchants and tea executives , Muslim clerics and music teachers

, tribal folk beliefs and the anthropologists who study them . The Narmada River and a "sutra (which literally means a thread or string ) are the two things that binded the mentioned themes

Mehta manifested the style of the Personal Point of View when a nameless narrator describes his life and experiences in the first person which turned out as a contradiction because unlike most first-person narrators , this man revealed very little about himself . Since the character has no life story and no main event which made him choose to live a retired life on the banks of the Narmada River , the reader got a glimpse of the narrator 's personality through what he did not say . To opposite this style , the people the narrator met and the stories he heard discovered the tumultuous nature of truly living . It turned out that the main character 's very lack of story made him an all-around man Like most people , the man seemed ordinary , a narrator without a narrative and still finding his own life

A River Sutra is a very matter sort of novel which can be seen in almost every section where traditional Indian literary texts and art forms are referred to . The word "sutra " referred to an Indian literary form , that Mehta described as "usually aphoristic (or axiomatic ) in nature " or concise in simple meaning . An aphorism is a short statement that contains a general truth . In other words "sutras " usually contain a moral or a message intended to enlighten the reader

The novel was positively responded by critics . A reviewer in Publisher 's Weekly described how "this novel of India beautifully embodies the art and craft of storytelling as Mehta portrayed various lives touched by the river Narmada , a holy pilgrimage site 'worshiped as the daughter of the god Shiva ' Mehta was further praised for "not avoiding the controversies of life in her homeland , including the caste system and political /religious rivalries , noting that "she willingly exposes its complexities . Rahul Jacob of the Los Angeles Times applauded how "every yarn begins the lazy circle again , another variation on the novel 's central themes . Each story ends with a beguiling turn into the next one . The simplicity of Mehta 's writing nicely complements the novel 's profound concerns " The form of A River Sutra was especially appreciated and how it tied into ancient storytelling traditions

The India of the Mehta 's novel is foreign , exotic , and unexpected India was described by the...

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