Author: Manoj Das
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0-19-566583-X
This collection of memoirs recounts the author’s childhood experiences in the quiet and supine India of villages. The Indian village in the first half of the last century was not a fairy tale world, as numerous accounts of human misery set against its backdrop have testified over the years, but it was still a world where a child could run across a green meadow studded with palm trees, dreaming of catching the end of a huge rainbow spanning the sky.
Set in Sankhari, the author’s village by the sea in Orissa, the reminiscences are imbued with a childlike sense of wonder: the dreaded butcher thus turns out to be messenger from a goddess, while a princely exterior hides a hapless vagrant. Even the ghosts are not frightening in this place, and the journey to the alien world across the river is filled with the possibility of romance more than terror.
Chasing the Rainbow is a homage to a way of life that was until recently so real. This book will not only appeal to readers nostalgic for a bygone world but will also serve as an invaluable record of village life in early twentieth-century India.
I have…read the stories of Manoj Das with great pleasure…I imagine Orissa is far from Malgudi, but there is the same quality as Narayan’s in his stories with perhaps an added mystery.
Manoj Das, like Graham Greene and R K Narayan, is a deft spinner of yarns. Narrating an Indian experience in a language which is alien or not Indian, without losing the original Indian charm and ethos is a difficult task. Das succeeds in this like Narayan.
Manoj Das’s stories compel the most blasé contemporary reader to return for a brief trip to a lost literary wonderland.
This is the secret of Manoj Das’s style: he can present characters and situations with a dead-pan so-it-was and we listen like a three-year old, the mariner hath his will.
-P S Sundaran, The Book Review
His stories, convincingly autochthonous, have by virtue of their own Indianness won for him a discriminating world audience.
-K R Srinivas Iyengar, The Hindu
How much I have enjoyed-but that is too feeble a word-how much I have vibrated to the stories!
-H R F Keating
Manoj Das is a great story-teller of the subcontinent…His world has the fullness of human psyche, with its dreams and fantasies, its awe and wonder, the height of sublimity can be courted by the depth of the fictive.
-A Russell, Poetry Time
A Village by the Sea
An Evening with Woo
Two Nights to Remember
A Twilight Encounter
The Forgotten Fragrance
Flames Without and Flames Within
Meeting a Crown Prince
Mystery of the Missing Toes
The Repentant Deity
The One Left Behind
The World beyond the River
A Crashing Bolt from the Blue
The Tiger of the Goddess
The Last Sacrifice
Murder Atop a Tree
Befriending the Dangerous
The Calcutta Adventure
The Invisible Radha
The Lost World of the Little Rajas
Some Early Teachers
The Red Red Signature
Descent of Freedom on a Sandy Stretch
The Tree is Dead
The Big Boss of the Thousand Islets
5.12591-Reconstructing the World