The story, at the beginning, is very boring. That sort of sets the tone for the entire book.
The language one comes across in Kanthapura is strange and unlike anything else seen before. It is a highly bent, broken and battered form of the English we are all accustomed to. The words are dull and short, and are selected carefully so as to generate the maximum amount of boredom possible among readers.
The story has two main individual leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, who, very wisely, chooses to remain out of the novel, and Moorthy, the main protagonist. The story takes off, if it ever does, when Moorthy, a young Brahmin, suddenly gets influenced by the Mahatma. He starts spreading the Mahatma’s message among the villagers. He visits the city sometime during the beginning of the narrative, and returns a ‘Gandhi Man’. The villagers, in the absence of anything better to do, start taking Moorthy seriously. [Whose Life? Kanthapura]
Then there are 14 comments agreeing with Mr. Saxena, most of them saying “I couldn’t even get past the first 10 pages.” Okay, seriously, that bad? Yeah, okay, I like to read complicated stuff, but I’ve read much worse (Evelina, anyone?) All commenters are welcome. Was I reading the same book? My edition had copious footnotes–is that the key here? Hints, please.