Though he is better known as the author of tomes like ‘A Suitable Boy’ and ‘An Equal Music’, Vikram Seth’s ‘Beastly Tales From Here and There’ reveal that he is quite at home in writing for children. A delightful collection of 10 story-poems, of which, as the author himself writes in the introduction, ‘....two come from India, the next two from China, the next two from Greece, and the next two from Ukraine. The final two came directly to me from the Land of Gup.”
The stories are about our animal friends. You will find Kuroop, the crocodile who lives in the Ganges and his friend the monkey and the age old story of the hare and the tortoise ingeniously retold. Then there are amazing tales of the elephant and the tragopan and the battle royale between the snake and the mouse and many more.
Vivid imagery and lots of humour make this an extremely readable book.
Vikram Seth was born on June 20, 1952 in Kolkata. He studied at Oxford University and later did his post-graduation in Economics from Stanford University. He also studied classical Chinese poetry at Nanjing University.
On the Ganga’s greenest isle
Lived Kuroop the crocodile:
Greeny-brown with gentle grin,
Stubby legs and scaly skin,
He would view with tepid eyes
Prey below a certain size-
But when a substantial dish —
Dolphin, turtle, fatter fish —
Swam across his field of view,
He would test the water too.
(From The Crocodile and the Monkey)