- Paperback: 301 pages
- Publisher: Saqi Books; Revised and Updated edition (October 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0863566618
- ISBN-13: 978-0863566615
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,830,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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KALILA AND DIMNA, Vol. 1: - Fables of Friendship and Betrayal from the Panchatantra, Jatakas, Bidpai, Kalila and Dimnah and Lights of Canopus Paperback – October 1, 2008
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A beautiful book full of mirth and human interest and unsentimental wisdom and vigorous writing. -- The Boston Globe, August 19, 1980 (also referring to the first US edition of the same book)
Crossing linguistic and cultural frontiers, these fables also transcend conventional time-frames. They abound with temporal paradoxes . . . They contain words of advice whose meaning only becomes gradually clear, sometimes after a very long delay. -- Le Monde, September 15, 2006 (referring to the French edition of the same book)
His version will certainly be much more attractive to modern readers than the older translations, with the drier narratives and unfamiliar oriental hyperbole. -- The Times Literary Supplement March 17, 1980 (also referring to first British edition)
Unique retelling... may well jolt literary sensibilities tuned to the solemnity or quaintness of our best known versions of animal fables. -- San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle,July 27, 1980 (referring to the first US edition of the same book by Knopf)
When Ramsay Wood retells a story he makes a proper job of it: not for him those pale imitations of a noble original which is what your average reteller so often palms off on his readers, His style is vigorous, unrepentantly colloquial, and yet -in case your purist's soul is now shriveling - his text retains a high degree of that bardic dignity proper to the classic fable. -- The Times, 1980 (referring to first British edition of the same book by Paladin)
From the Publisher
In his retelling of 'Kalila and Dimna', Ramsay Wood deftly knits several oral storytelling traditions into a captivating literary style. This version from all major ancient texts is the first new compendium in English since 1570.
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About a quarter of the way into Kalila and Dimna I finished up one particularly clever chapter, the type of storytelling that is so good and perfect that all the world around seems to go quiet for that moment. I closed my Kindle reader and suddenly I knew it: I knew not only why the book is still held in such high esteem, but moreover I in a personal sense was absurdly unqualified to even judge it! Obviously I am now sharing how much I enjoyed it, but to actually "review" it in the sense of passing judgment? It'd be ridiculous really. As if any one of us could be remotely qualified to judge Shakespeare's body of work!
So just know the simple fact that, yes this is a book of tales within tales, each expertly and cleverly told, all just the right length and tone. It is the kind of genius that would function to delight children and adults in equal measure, with the kind of eye for detail that makes it gives each section its own unique flavor. Certainly many of the themes will be familiar to most adults, but the storytelling is never predictable and often goes against what a reader expects will play out.
I cannot comment on any other translations but this one is a good balance between feeling timeless and yet stays accessible to a modern reader.