The Ascetic of Desire: A Novel of the Kamasutra
The Kama Sutra is the most widely read treatise on sex ever written, while the man who chronicled all there was to experience between men and women remains a mystery. In The Ascetic of Desire, Sudhir Kakar tells the story of its author, Vatsayana, and his times -- the fourth century A.D., considered the golden age of Indian history -- in a way that promises to make this debut novel a major literary event.
In Kakar's masterful account, we see Vatsayana through the eyes of his pupil, the son of a Brahmin scholar who is embarking on his first exploration of the sensual life. Vatsayana recounts his own life to the young man, including a childhood spent largely in the brothel where his favorite aunt worked. There Vatsayana gained his first, indelible impressions of sexual artifice and the arousal of desire. Side by side with the unfolding of Vatsayana's life is the story of a young man's coming of age. And at the point where their stories intersect, the unexpected happens.
Like Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, Sudhir Kakar's novel is a startling combination of psychological insight and historical background. With rights already sold in six countries, The Ascetic of Desire is the novel people will be talking about this spring.
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