River of Ink by Paul M.M. Cooper

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Ambitious and interesting. Cooper’s book has its merits, but read Salman Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights for more assured storytelling.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

In thirteenth-century Sri Lanka, Asanka, poet to the king, lives a life of luxury, enjoying courtly life and a sweet, furtive love affair with a palace servant, a village girl he is teaching to write. But when Magha, a prince from the mainland, usurps the throne, Asanka's role as court poet dramatically alters. Magha is a cruel and calculating king--and yet, a lover of poetry--and he commissions Asanka to translate a holy Sanskrit epic into the Tamil language spoken by his recently acquired subjects. The poem will be an olive branch--a symbol of unity between the two cultures.

But in different languages, in different contexts, meaning can become slippery. First inadvertently, then deliberately and dangerously, Asanka's version of the epic, centered on the killing of an unjust ruler, inspires and arouses the oppressed people of the land. Asanka must juggle the capricious demands of a king with the growing demands of his own political consciousness--and his heart--if he wishes to survive and imagine a future with the woman he loves.

The first novel from a remarkable young writer, River of Ink is a powerful historical tale set in the shadow of oppression--one with deep allegorical resonances in any time--celebrating the triumph of literature and love.

 

About Paul M.M. Cooper

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Paul M. M. Cooper graduated from the University of Warwick in 2011 and spent most of the next year living in Sri Lanka, teaching English in schools and traveling the country. He returned to receive his creative writing M.A. from the University of East Anglia. He now lives in central London and works as a journalist. He's obsessed with languages, and one day he'll be able to read every alphabet in the world.
 
Published January 26, 2016 by Bloomsbury USA. 304 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction
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Kirkus

Below average
on Oct 15 2015

Ambitious and interesting. Cooper’s book has its merits, but read Salman Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights for more assured storytelling.

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