Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Book Review Zelaldinus: A Masque by Irwin Allan Sealy

If I haven't read this book I would not be knowing that Zelaldinus is "Jalal-ul-din" a.k.a. Akbar. A foreigner in 1590's used "Zelaldinus" name to describe Akbar. I won this book through Giveaway arranged by Vivek Tetuja & Aleph books.

Book Blurb
On a camel’s back hill beyond Agra stands a Redstone citadel altogether different from the white marble Taj Mahal. Fatehpur Sikri is the capital Akbar built to honour the saint who foretold the birth of his first son. In the inner court of the king’s palace is a broad stone terrace with a chequered pattern that resembles a game board. Here, accounts say, Akbar played a kind of chess using human pieces from his harem of three hundred. Costumed in various guises, his women would have presented lively masques upon this stage.Zelaldinus mounts such a pageant, glittering and fantastical, where past and present, nobles and commoners, history and fiction rub shoulders. Its variety of verse and prose forms evoke the carnival spirit of a masque. Underlying the depiction of a rich and varied court life at Sikri are reflections on kingship, a meditation on fathers and sons and a plot within a plot that tells a crackling story of love across the Pakistan border—while through it all strides the nimble ghost of Akbar himself. Jalaluddin (Zelaldinus) Akbar.
As far as story & theme goes a traveler/explorer Ivy came to Sikri. He met the spirit of Akbar. Together they went to various places. Their visits & conversation showed the history of the city & its architecture.

The book is not for entertainment seekers. The theme is different, the style of narration is different (it is in poems & phrases). You need to give serious efforts to read this book. Talking about the language used, that's also unique, and its difficulty level is also high. New entrant should avoid this book. For critically acclaimed book lovers, this is a dessert for you. 

All the trait that makes a book stand out of crowd are present in this book. But at the same time, it can affect its readership. 

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Overall - 3/5
Book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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