“A giddy invasion of stories–brilliant, enigmatic, troubling, outrageous, erotic, beautiful.” –The New York Times Book Review”
“So brilliant that you can’t look at it anymore–and you can’t look at anything else. . . . No one will read it without reward.”
–The Boston Globe
With the same narrative fecundity and imaginative sympathy he brought to his acclaimed retelling of the Greek myths, Roberto Calasso plunges Western readers into the mind of ancient India. He begins with a mystery: Why is the most important god in the Rg Veda, the oldest of India’s sacred texts, known by a secret name–“Ka,” or Who?
What ensues is not an explanation, but an unveiling. Here are the stories of the creation of mind and matter; of the origin of Death, of the first sexual union and the first parricide. We learn why Siva must carry his father’s skull, why snakes have forked tongues, and why, as part of a certain sacrifice, the king’s wife must copulate with a dead horse. A tour de force of scholarship and seduction, Ka is irresistible.
“Passage[s] of such ecstatic insight and cross-cultural synthesis–simply, of such beauty.” –The New York Review of Books
“All is spectacle and delight, and tiny mirrors reflecting human foibles are set into the weave,turning this retelling into the stuff of literature.” –The New Yorker