Raja Rao 1909–
Indian novelist, short story writer, and editor.
Rao, who was educated in India and England, is one of India's most outstanding authors writing in English. His distinctive style captures the rhythms of Indian speech and idiomatic expression. His writing is complex but poetic. Intensely philosophical, Rao examines, in his fiction, the religious and mythic roots of India, at times offering a comparison to Western thought.
Rao grew up during colonial India's struggle for independence and his first novel, Kanthapura, depicts the impact of Gandhi's passive resistance movement on a South Indian village. The Serpent and the Rope, considered his best work, describes the dissolution of a marriage between an Indian student and his French wife. It is semi-autobiographical, and because of its extensive symbolism and the nature of its philosophical discussion, it is considered a metaphysical novel. The Cat and Shakespeare, also metaphysical, is an allegory which has been variously interpreted. The Cow of the Barricades and Other Stories is a 1947 collection of some early short stories.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 73-76.)