Vetaal and Vikram is a playful retelling of one of India’s most celebrated cycles of stories. The narrative of King Vikram and the Vetaal is located within the Kathasaritsagara, an eleventh-century Sanskrit text. The Vetaal who is neither living nor dead is a consummate storyteller, and Vikram is a listener who can neither speak nor stay silent. Together they are destined to walk a labyrinth of stories in the course of a moonless night in a cremation ground.
In 1870, eleven of the Vetaal’s stories were adapted to English by the famed scholar-explorer Richard Francis Burton who tailored them to his audience’s gothic taste. Vetaal and Vikram is a contemporary response that includes Burton within its storytelling folds. Fantastical and delightful, this retelling dissolves the lines between speaker and listener, desire and duty, life and death.
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One among the best books on Fairy Tale Tellers on fivebooks.com: https://fivebooks.com/best-books/fairy-tale-tellers-nicholas-jubber/
“In Vetaal and Vikram, which is part literary pastiche, part historical biography, she dredges up these ancient tales and winds them around the story of a Victorian explorer who was their most celebrated interpreter. In the process, Prabhu gives us a shimmering cover version that captures the strange magic of the original.” – Nicholas Jubber in Asian Review of Books. https://asianreviewofbooks.com/content/vetaal-and-vikram-riddles-of-the-undead-by-gayathri-prabhu/
“Vetaal and Vikram: Riddles of the Undead is exemplary, in my opinion, because it is a retelling of a history of literature, blurring the edges between postmodern writing and the tradition of oral storytelling.” – Michael Varghese in Asiaville News. https://www.asiavillenews.com/article/writing-a-retelling-a-review-of-vetaal-and-vikram-riddles-of-the-undead-24703
“A light-hearted retelling of the celebrated Indian mythology, the novel is radically different from everything she has written before.” – Shruthi Dileep in Reading Room Co. http://www.readingroomco.com/2020/08/24/retelling-the-tale-in-conversation-with-gayathri-prabhu
“[Vetaal and Vikram]…stories that talk about love, lust, adultery and has a very liberal view about same-sex relationships…a fresh way of presenting folklore” – Anamika Nandekar in Sakaal Times: https://www.sakaltimes.com/art-culture/are-you-clever-vikram-crack-riddle-then-43938
‘To Write Means to be Vulnerable’ — Interview by Archana Pai Kulkarni in She The People: http://www.shethepeople.tv/books/author-gayathri-prabhu-vetaal-vikram-book