|About the Book|
I had heard of Rabindranath Tagore for many years, but suspected that his reputation was of the bubble variety -- until I read Quartet. Now I suddenly feel as if I had missed something really precious for all those years. In a mere matter of 78 pages, Tagore takes up the subject how how spirituality interfaces with daily life. We have four main characters: the kindly atheist Jagmohan, his nephew Sachish (who follows his uncle until he becomes a sannyasi, one who has renounced the world), the supremely grounded young widow Damini, and the narrator Sribilash.The name Quartet comes from the interaction of these four characters. The alternate title of the book is Chaturanga, which is the ancient Hindu game from which chess was derived. In a way, the book is a chess match between the spiritual life and the life of the householder (that is, married life). Who wins? No one does: The result is a stalemate.Each of the four chapters is approximately twenty pages in length, and each is a small masterpiece in its own right.The chess game continues apace.