Nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize for Fiction, 2011, The Valley of Masks by Tarun J. Tejpal assesses the structures of power and envisions the future through this socially critical work.
Summary Of The Book
The Valley Of Masks is about, as Tarun Tejpal states, the story of the people he has known over the years.
The novel provides a powerful reimagining of power structures and belief systems which can be scary but also redemptive in terms of fashioning a better future.
The narrator’s name keeps changing as the novel progresses. At one point he is called Karna and at the next he is called X 470. The story is controlled by him. The narrator flees from the Aum Mountains and its doctrines. Through these allegorical devices, the book touches upon issues of the human race, dogmas, and class systems.
The story searches for humaneness through the annals of inhumanity. It is not a simple allegory but leaves a deep impact on all readers. This work also deals with extremist institutions where children and young adults go through violent warrior training. This is not about understanding priesthood, but about taking it to the next level. Things become so violent that killing becomes the only means of survival. The question remains whether it is enough to escape from Aum to avoid such violence.
A rare piece of literature, The Valley Of Masks has been well received critically and commercially.
Critics like Ashis Nandy have pointed out the disturbing yet brilliant way in which Tejpal manages to transcend all the social boundaries imposed on various aspects of people’s lives. The Valley Of Masks comments on the way various trends fashion the way one reads, one views culture, and various other mundane aspects.
About Tarun J. Tejpal
Known for his journalistic approach in most of his works, Tarun J. Tejpal is a renowned author, publisher, and editor of Tehelka magazine.
He has written several novels such as The Story of My Assassins and The Alchemy Of Desire. His works have received global recognition.
He has always been associated with his brand of public interest journalism. He has extensively researched on defense scams and naxalite movements for his newspaper, Tehelka. He founded a publishing company called India Ink which published the award-winning novel, The God Of Small Things. He currently lives in New Delhi with his wife.
A dark, compelling, genre-defying book
2 Dec, 2011
best piece i read in 2011
19 Dec, 2011
A great write
25 Oct, 2013
very graphic, very dark, outstanding writing!
1 Oct, 2013
Brilliant narrative, perfect tale
23 Feb, 2012