In this volume the Indian novelist R. K. Narayan, who has previously produced a prose rendition of the Ramayana, presents an unadorned summary of the tale of the great rivalry between the five Pandava brothers and their evil cousins, the sons of King Dhritarashtra. No unprecedented contribution--creative or scholarly--to the literature dealing with India's great epic will be found here. The book's lack of novelty is compensated for, however, by the simple and straightforward grace of Narayan's retelling, and by his good sense to stick with the frame-story and to ignore entirely the countless digressions of the original. The flow of the narrative is sometimes marred by the author's tendency to interject that ""the Mahabharata may be said to be a tale of conflict"" or whatever. Such interruptions suggest to the reader a college-outline plot-summary, and noticeably diminish the power of this story of deceit and vengeance. Nonetheless, Narayan's Mahabharata is a fine introduction to the mythology of the epic, particularly for those who have had no previous background in Indian classical literature. The interested reader will find here a painless dose of what may then inspire a true addiction.