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Mythology in Calasso’s Ka

April 5, 2010

There is absolutely no satisfactory explanation as to why I like this book. At first glance, Roberto Calasso’s Ka seems distinctly objectionable – an Italian retells Hindu myths, recreating and reinventing them to suit what are clearly his notions of quirky mystic Hinduism. The tales are dredged up from a democratically diverse range of sources: some of them original texts, some of them commentaries-upon-commentaries. They are told with a wry tone of voice that somehow manages to add an extra flourish of exoticism. And some of them aren’t even tales, but rather Calasso’s ruminative takes on Hindu philosophy.

Perhaps what satisfies me is that Hindu mythology can thus be cut-and-pasted and thoroughly post-modernised and still sparkle the way it does. Perhaps what this book proves to me once and for all that mythology resists all attempts at codification. Perhaps I enjoy the foreigner’s skilful voice telling me stories I already know. Whatever maybe the reasons, I still open it once in a while, before I go to bed, and allow the florid language to lull me to sleep.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Uchu permalink
    April 26, 2010 10:53 am

    for some reason, i’ve never been able to make it through this book. the whole point of it evades me entirely!

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