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Set in the war-torn world of Mughal India and first published in the gathering darkness of the 1930s, The Root and the Flower is an epic story of intrigue, murder, and romance; of Tantric abandonment and Buddhist renunciation; of emotional delirium and spiritual adventure.
The cast of characters includes Hari, a reckless and passionate warrior; Sita, in love with both Hari and her husband Amar, a prince who wishes to forsake the world but is increasingly drawn into a bloody political struggle; and Sita and Amar’s son Jali, whose precocious encounters with sex and violence threaten him with madness.

At once a dream of India and a vision of a world riven by political, ethnic, and religious conflicts, The Root and the Flower is a work of great range and singular poetic beauty. It is, in Penelope Fitzgerald’s words, a “strange masterpiece,” and one of the unsung glories of modern literature.

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