Karna’s Altar Ego by Surendra Nath is a Stream of Consciousness Novel. This novel deals with the inner conflicts of a person. This novel has great mythological relevance as the protagonist compares his life with the great Karna.
Vasu is the main character in the novel whose struggles are clearly related to Karna. He is the mouthpiece of Karna. But I feel these are the thoughts of the author hence Vasu is Author’s mouthpiece. The author has beautifully narrated the tales of mythology and many instances have been narrated from the point of view of Karna.
If we go in depth, the cover of the novel is really appealing. It gives the reader a vibe to read the book. Further, the title is very intriguing and it clearly shows the story would be from the point of view of Karna. Technically speaking, it is a novel that follows point of view, as the saga is being retold through Karna’s point of view. The story is divided into chapters and each chapter is a story in itself. The whole life story and his struggles have been delineated in the book.
The Treasure scene is purely fictional. It has a long lasting effect in the minds of the readers. Further, the hijack scene also grabs attention of the readers. The heroic act of Vasu ,by saving the passengers from the terrorists wins the hearts of the readers. Through this novel the author challenges the oldest Epic written by Vyasa. According to the author, many things have been ignored while writing this tale. Hence, The author’s source material for this piece is the original version of Mahabharta by Vyasa Dev and other writings by Devdutt Patnaik, Kavita Kane and others.
According to the author, Vyasa Dev had remained quite on many aspects which would have gone in favour of Kauravas. There were gaps in his story. That was where the authors should have taken liberty to dive into those gaps and fill their own stories. And he did the same.
Karna’s Altar Ego brings questions in the minds of the readers: What we are told through stories is true or not? Was their any injustice? Who was wrong? Kauravas or Pandavas? Did Krishna played any games and were they justified?
The best part of the novel is the foreward by Ruskin Bond. Ruskin Bond is well known for his work and if such an established person writes for him then there is something unique about the novel. If you guys really want to know what are those hidden stories that are uncovered by the author then read this novel and find the answers of your questions.
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