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Beastly Tales From Here and There

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  638 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
From the impish to the brilliantly comic, Vikram Seth's animal fables in verse can (like Diwali sweets) be enjoyed by young and old alike. Familiar characters in a new and magical form, such as the greedy crocodile who was outwitted by the monkey or the steady tortoise who out-ran the hare, here take their place beside a newly minted gallery of characters and creatures who ...more
Hardcover, 151 pages
Published 2001 by Orion Books, ltd. (first published 1991)
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DISCLAIMER: By the time she finished the book, the reviewer was so deeply influenced by the rhymes in this little book of tales that she couldn't keep the wannabe poet inside her from casting forth the following lines.

In world of beasts and that of men,
There have been a few occasions when
Such good books have been created
Which can be read and appreciated
By both the old and the young
And which leave a musical note on one's tongue
Whose rhythmic pattern tends to stay
With the Reader day after day
Alright, I know what I'm gonna do here will probably in no way justify the brilliance of "Beastly Tales", but I'm gonna try nevertheless (coz I'm one arrogant show-off) to review this book in verse, using a rhyme scheme similar to the one used by Seth in this book. It's not just about what I felt about this book but also about how I chanced upon it & well, yeah that's about it.

My friends, as you may see
I did not read much poetry
But one fine evening at the Victoria
Not the falls, but the Memo
Jul 29, 2007 Sandhya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes verse and is fond of fables
Fun with fables

I've never been much into verse, if you exclude that brilliant satire by Alaxander Pope, The Rape Of The Lock or Milton's Paradise Lost.
Barring these classic works, I haven't really bothered with verse, especially when it comes to modern writers. Which is why, this quite simply escaped me and in any case, I'm yet to really sink my teeth into any of Vikram Seth's works.
But a very heavy recommendation by a friend, who insisted that there was possibly no better writer of verse in I
Vinay Leo R.
Aug 05, 2015 Vinay Leo R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 4-star, 2015
Review @ A Lot of Pages:

Reading these beautiful stories in verse, I can’t help but fall in love with poetry again, and with those fables as well. It brings magic with it. No matter what the mood, I feel these tales in verse will leave you with a smile. No. I don’t think they’ll leave you that easily either. They took me down memory lane.
Vishesh Unni
Feb 29, 2016 Vishesh Unni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, fun, fun.
Feb 10, 2017 Shalini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A review I write in the books own rhyme..
'Age-old animal fables and tales;
Weaved and coated in a poetic language to engage,
and attempted to woo and re-sale;
Holds stories that may be read once or twice,
With each of them giving the reader a mild little surprise.'
Jan 29, 2017 Suzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last story was superb. Raised the book from 3 stars to 4 stars.
May 12, 2017 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read 'A Suitable Boy' previously, I was already aware of Seth's prowess as a writer and it was nice to see an author successful in other forms of writing than just traditional prose (since I'd also picked up his 'The Golden Gate') and this seemed a convenient prelude to the aforementioned novel.

'Beastly Tales From Here and There' is a compendium of poetic fables exclusively written in rhyming couplets and each about two or three 'beasts' whose lives are intertwined in various ways. The po
Aug 12, 2013 Arun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Beastly Tales From Here and There is a collection of ten stories written in the form of poems. All the stories are simple-minded, and rhythmic. The stories resemble Aesop's fables and that delights the reader. Suitable for anyone - from infant to senile - to read and enjoy. Seth maintains rhyme scheme throughout the book which eases the reading experience. Some verses rhyme perfectly well that you can sing the poem!
Seth communicates to us using animals as a medium. Unlike Aesop's tales which nec
Jun 04, 2011 James rated it really liked it
Adapting tales from China, Greece, the Ukraine and his homeland of India, and presenting them in rhyming verse, Vikram Seth has created a small masterpiece of fables for our time. You will meet again the tortoise and the hare, and you may recognize the greedy crocodile, but there are other tales with characters not so familiar with strange names and traits, but each with a message that can be comprehended by young and old. So short that it can easily be read in one quick session and so enjoyable ...more
Kevin Rubin
Nov 11, 2012 Kevin Rubin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed "Beastly Tales". A bunch of fairly short, but quite amusing poems.

Some are Vikram Seth's retelling of stories and fables from other places and a couple are his own original ones.

All revolve around animals, with humans only in the background a bit, such as the king who unwittingly provides a home and meals for bed louses, until a mosquito joins them, or the humans in the last story who want to dam a river and upset the beasts' homes...

Very fast to read with consistent rhyming and amusin
Ralph Hutchison
I found this book at the Panjabi restaurant/bookshop in Leh. It is an excellent collection of medium length lyrical poems which are suitable for any audience, including children. Each poem is in rhymed couplets and taken "from here and there": Two adaptations of Folktales from India, two from Greece (including the tortoise and the hare), two from Ukraine and two original tales from Vikram Seth.

I memorized the poem about the crocodile's wife on the way back to Delhi and home after six months of
Jan 15, 2012 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beastly Tales from Here and There is the 4th book of poetry by Vikram Seth. The book contains ten tales in verse, written by Seth on a day that was too hot for him to concentrate on his work. There are tales from India, China, Greece, the Ukraine and the Land of Gup. They are light-hearted and can be enjoyed by both adults and children. My personal favourite is The Goat and The Ram, which is a great choice for dinner parties, especially the lines: “They ate with pride, as if to balance Their tot ...more
Nov 27, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Loved this. Vikram Seth rewrote a number of folk tales from India, China, Greece and the Ukraine in rhyming couplets and ended off with two fables in the same style of his own creation. It is fun language. I would love to hear this read aloud. The final story, The Elephant and the Tragopan, was my absolute favourite - animals band together and are led by the title characters to lobby humans to save their habitat from a proposed dam.
Apr 26, 2013 Funn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about various stories from around the world about animals but written in verse. They all have a moral to them and some of them are recognisable like The Hare and the Tortoise. I enjoyed reading them in verse form and this would be great for reading aloud to children in KS1/KS2. A great book for Literacy and poetry based lessons.
Suhasini Srihari
Apr 15, 2016 Suhasini Srihari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful collection of fables, they are stories which are versified. Seth has taken a keen interest in choosing his words, however, some lines tend to be easily flown while others might have required great labour. The aspect of versifying fables is appealing to those who love poetry, legends, moral stories and myths. It is indeed a purposeful read.
ALOP - A Lot of Pages
Link to the Book Review at ALOP

Leo rates this book 4 stars and says that the stories told through the poetry are quite wonderful to read, and that they leave the reader with a smile.
Srikanth Mantravadi
Seth is brilliant when it comes to verse.All the bloated prose-when he writes fiction-melds into pithy turns of exquisite phrase.They are incredibly rhythmic and sing song and a pure joy to read even without the little denouements he packs in at the end.
Mayank Jain
Jan 10, 2013 Mayank Jain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the all time best book that i have read in my life... just plain genius... have read the stories to my sweetheart to bed.. Have re-read it severla times.. the size and the content is equally cute.
Dec 08, 2013 Sukanto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Revisiting folk tales in rhymed verse is a splendid thing to do! And some of the things on the reborn tales are issues that are current even today. Hard to believe these were written more than two decades ago!
Aug 06, 2012 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will read these to my children some day.
Aug 04, 2012 Ankit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First two poems and the last one are Great.
The rest are also good.
Good not great because I didn't like the tales
and still good because the way author has written is
absolutely delightful
Namitha Varma
10 delightful, humorous story-poems. I'm awed at Seth's rhyming abilities. This will remain one of my favourite poetry books.
Lynne Norman
I found some of the rhyming a little clumsy - and I'm sure one poem was very confused about the gender of a particular fox - but this was certainly a fun little book for all that.
Jan 14, 2016 Soeleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of poems is such that I would love to re-read it to myself, and also to my children and grandchildren in future.
Apr 26, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read March 2000
and June 1996
Dec 09, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
humorous and observant but it was the last one that really pushed up to 4 stars, a true call to arms by beasts to save their valley from man.
Paul Varghese
Jan 30, 2016 Paul Varghese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sonia Gomes
Jan 11, 2010 Sonia Gomes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Read it, its a fun book
Such humour, such wit, such beauty !
Jason Danely
Jan 27, 2008 Jason Danely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
currently reading to my son, due in late march.
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Vikram Seth is an Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, children's writer, biographer and memoirist.

During the course of his doctorate studies at Stanford, he did his field work in China and translated Hindi and Chinese poetry into English. He returned to Delhi via Xinjiang and Tibet which led to a travel narrative From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983) which won
More about Vikram Seth...

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