THE SERPENT AND THE ROPE by Raja

THE SERPENT AND THE ROPE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

was born a Brahmin -- that is, devoted to truth and all that."" So begins the philosophical pilgrimage of our hero Rama, first met as he visits the Ganges after the death of his father, who leaves him the head of the household. A student of the Albigensian heresy, dwelling in France and married to a French woman, Rama remains aloof from the West, never disengaged from India, finding his sustenance in his familial relationships and the continuity of his religious heritage. Madeleine seeks to reach him through ascetic Buddhism and fails -- for he is Hindu and ""one can never be converted to Hinduism"". Rama's search for truth is embodied in his relationship with Woman,-- through Madeleine with whom ""everything was explanation"", through Savithri, his true mate, with whom ""it was recognition"". And for good earthly measure, there is Lakshmi too. Between these encounters are intersticed soliloquies and dialogues on the nature of truth, being, death, Catholicism and Communism, Aristotle and Sanskrit. Inexorably Eastern, with its mystic turning inward to truth, this is a full-bodied, perhaps pretentious, certainly ambitious and surely intellectual narrative, attempting profundity and truth-seeking through the meeting of the sexes -- essentially too highflown and alien for most readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1963
Publisher: Pantheon