Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book Review : The Land of Cards

Title : The Land of Cards
Author : Rabindranath Tagore
Publisher : Puffin Classics

Rabindranath Tagore is not called the 'Complete Institute of Literature' for nothing. He excelled In whichever field he ventured - be it poetry, short stories, novels, painting or music. What can a reviewer say about an author as great as him. But still attempting to write something about his piece of writing and feeling very honored to be reviewing one of his works.

'The Land of Cards' is a potpourri of some of his best works - poems, short stories and plays, translated from Bengali to English by Radha Chakravarty. A wonderful assortment to give the children little glimpse of the beautiful world created by Tagore's pen.

Poems - which offer different flavors in each piece - ranging from hilarious odd rhymes like the one in which a cat is trying to convince the fish to be its meal, to the ones which are brimming with sensitive emotions. The entertaining 'The Invention of Shoes' tells the story of the birth of shoes while the 'Hero' reveals the inner desire of a son to be by her mother's side and to protect her always. Through the poems like 'Two Bighas of Land', Rabindranath Tagore took up the social issues which were suffocating our country in ancient times.

The title play 'The Land of Cards' brings out the conventional restrictions of the society and in another play 'The Post Office', a boy being restrained to closed confines tries to live his life through the people who are busy in seemingly mundane activities in the free outside world and unknowingly teaches them the lesson to take pleasure in whatever they are doing.

'Kabuliwala' - a simple story bringing out the yearning of a father for his daughter, is one of the great classics which are lustrous ageless gems. I remember having enjoyed reading this story as part of course book during school years. Such are the pieces of writings which defy all barriers of age and time.

'The Land of Cards' is a book which can be read, enjoyed and appreciated by children and adults alike, offering them a peep into the world of literary genius.


  1. I had seen this one but not picked it up. For what age group will you slot this, Vibha? I too remember having 'Kabuliwalah' in my school book, but I think I was in the 7th or 8th. I have tried Tagore with A, but I found myself struggling to explain to a 9 year old the concept of getting married at such a young age as Mini was, or that of a high caste (what's caste?!!) widow having to shave her head (in some other story that I do not now recollect). Although these things do not commonly happen now, I feel an older child will at least be able to understand and appreciate the concept. I would like to have your feedback on this, Vibha.:)

  2. Although I would love to pick it up for myself. Seems like a treat.

  3. Sandhya, the book is really good but I think the right age to read this book is 10+
    I read some stories and poems to my kids - 8+ and 5+ and enjoyed the rest myself alot.
    But these books are real treasures to keep at home.
    So go ahead and pick it up.

  4. Vibha, kabuliwallah is still so fresh in my memory...had it as part of Hindi textbook some year. I have a book too ...a collection of Rabindranath Tagore's short stories...loved them all. Will definitely check out this book too.

  5. Ranjani, I guess we had the similar syllabus, I also read 'Kabuliwala' as part of Hindi Textbook in some grade.
    Such classics always enthrall readers.


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails