The Root and the Flower

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New York Review of Books, Aug 31, 2011 - Fiction - 656 pages
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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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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Published as three separate novels in the '30s, Myers's trilogy was first brought together under one cover in England in 1985, along with a superb preface by the late Penelope Fitzgerald celebrating ... Read full review

The root and the flower

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Myers's epic of India was originally published as three novels between 1929 and 1935. Large in scope, the novel covers political, religious, and ethnic conflicts that have ravaged that country for years. This edition includes an introduction by Penelope Fitzgerald. Read full review

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About the author (2011)

L.H. Myers (1881–1944) was the son F.W.H. Myers, an essayist and investigator into parapsychology, and Evelyn Tennant, an accomplished amateur photographer and famous Victorian beauty. Myers attended Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, traveled, underwent a transforming mystical experience in a Chicago hotel room, and fell in love with Elsie Palmer, a general’s daughter from Glen Eyrie, Colorado, whom he later married. His first novel, The Orissers (1922), was followed by The Clio (1925), Strange Glory (1936), and The Root and the Flower (originally issued as three separate books between 1929 and 1935). A final novel, The Pool of Vishnu (1940), revisits the Indian setting and some of the characters of The Root and the Flower while also reflecting Myers’s newfound commitment to communism. Increasingly unhappy in his later years, Myers struggled to write an auto-biography, but remained unsatisfied with the work, which he finally destroyed. He committed suicide in 1944.

Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2000) graduated with honors from Somerville College, Oxford, and worked at a variety of jobs until, in 1975, she published her first book, a biography of the pre-Raphaelite master Edward Burne-Jones. She was the author of two other biographies and ten works of fiction, among them The Blue Flower, Human Voices, and The Bookshop.

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