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Recalling the 14th century, 300-year epoch in India’s history called the Vijayanagar Empire (referred to here as Bisnaga), Victory City is Salman Rushdie’s breathtaking new novel, mythmaking on a grand scale, where facts are sprinkled with fable, that had me in awe of Rushdie’s prodigious storytelling talents. Told in the form of a rediscovered ancient text (one that rivals the Mahabharata or the Ramyana), the novel centers on Pampa Kampana, a nine-year-old girl (who in the course of the novel will live to be 250 years old), a girl who has a divine encounter with the goddess Parvati who will then change the course of history and record its story. The story Pampa tells is a complex, rich tapestry that is magical and enchanting, spellbinding and provocative, exuberant and captivating---and one that is thoroughly enjoyable to read! Reflections on the fate of empire, the nature of history, hubris and power, the curse of sectarianism, fanaticism, sexual freedom, the equality of the sexes, and the pacifist rejection of war are all wrapped up in a mythic fairy tale that tells the story of an epoch that thrives in the richness of its stories, in its celebration of women, poetry and liberty. Victory City is a buoyant celebration of the power of words (“Words are the only victors” reads the last line of the novel), and with his trademark wit and intelligence, Rushdie offers up a dazzling display of myths, sacred legends and stories, all told in an epic tale rich in allegory that is entertainment on a grand scale, all from the master of the grand narrative. Ed loved and highly recommends!
The epic tale of a woman who breathes a fantastical empire into existence, only to be consumed by it over the centuries--from the transcendent imagination of Booker Prize-winning, internationally bestselling author Salman Rushdie.
In the wake of an unimportant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in fourteenth-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history. After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for her namesake, the goddess Pampa, who begins to speak out of the girl's mouth. Granting her powers beyond Pampa Kampana's comprehension, the goddess tells her that she will be instrumental in the rise of a great city called Bisnaga--"victory city"--the wonder of the world.
Over the next 250 years, Pampa Kampana's life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga's, from its literal sowing from a bag of magic seeds to its tragic ruination in the most human of ways: the hubris of those in power. Whispering Bisnaga and its citizens into existence, Pampa Kampana attempts to make good on the task that the goddess set for her: to give women equal agency in a patriarchal world. But all stories have a way of getting away from their creator, and Bisnaga is no exception. As years pass, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances shift, the very fabric of Bisnaga becomes an ever more complex tapestry--with Pampa Kampana at its center.
Brilliantly narrated in the style of an ancient epic, Victory City
is a saga of love, adventure, and myth that is in itself a testament to the power of storytelling.