Githa Hariharan

A deeply moving tale of a small-town schoolteacher and his young pupil

Vasu Master has recently retired from his job in a small-town school. Away from the familiar, circumscribed world of school, principal and classroom, Vasu Master begins to relive incidents from the past, and discover, in his own halting but imaginative way, the nature of teaching, teacher and pupil. This process of self-discovery is speeded up by the arrival of Mani, who cannot - or will not - speak. Vasu Master tells the reticent child one fantastic story after the other as he faces up to the biggest challenge of his life: can he teach (or heal) Mani?

Using fantasy, fable and a host of wonderfully imagined characters - and the gentle, humane and philosophic voice of Vasu Master - Githa Hariharan creates a richly textured and complex work that eloquently explores the human condition, and the underlying principles of all human action.

From Reviews

"Vasu Master spins a succession of fables which, in their range and diversity, epitomize the human condition. But there is also a deep vein of fantasy and mystery running through them, which breaks out in all its enchantment in the strange and glittering climax."
The Telegraph

"This is a book written with a rare lyrical grace, and one that consistently reveals new depths."
Business Standard

"A marvelously written book with wit as corrosive as dry ice..."
India Today

"...a silken web of fables and parables..."
The Indian Express

"...what matters is Hariharan's zeal to confront systems that bind the mind."
Hindu

"...sophisticated, accomplished… also brave, for it must take considerable courage to attempt something so complex, so full of memory and stillness…"
The Book Review

"Refreshingly simple and humorous narrative style… despite (the) serious subject…"
The Statesman

"Charming, entertaining and thoughtful…"
Complete Review

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'Richly textured exploration of the human condition'

Penguin Books India, 1994

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