The City and The River is a political fable. Using a mixture of fantasy, prophecy, and a startlingly real vision of everyday politics, this is a novel that is truly a parable of the times.
The City is all cities. The River is the mother of cities. The Grand Master rules the city by the river and is determined to become its unchallenged King. Things move smoothly in this earthly Eden, till a strange prophecy is made by the palace astrologer. The learned man predicts the crowning of a new King in place of the Grand Master...
The book is not a philosophical tract mouthing the utterances of its characters. Its appeal lies in its skillful handling of the course plotted by intrigue and corruption in high places. The readability is enhanced by incisive character detail. As events unfold, each of the main actors become a portrait in a gallery.
Arun Joshi (1939-1993), son of a botanist and an eminent educationist, was born in Varanasi and educated in India and the U.S. After getting his Masters degree from M.I.T., he returned to India to pursue career in the corporate world.
Yet writing remained his passion. In the five novels he wrote he spun out some of the most thought-provoking and outstanding fiction written in the twentieth century Indian literature and firmly established his credentials as a writer of rare talent and sensitivity. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1982.
"A sharp observation, an unflinching candour, an intelligent wit, combined with easy flowing prose, lend the story a unique charm that only a well written period novel can evince..." - The Book Review
"Narrated with humour and a gentle irony, The City and the River strikes an entirely different theme from Arun Joshi's earlier novels." - The Telegraph
"A political novel... It reflects the Indian reality." - Asia Week
"His prose is at once felicitous as it is flawless." - Khushwant Singh
"Written with Joshi's characteristic lucidity and confidence... the most interesting part of the book is its tone - all this is illusion, a recurring chain of cause and effect." - Makarand Paranjape, The Sunday Times