Book Review: Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar

Book Cover: Cuckold
Book Cover: Cuckold

Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of reading this book“, a friend told me while discussing this book. Well, that statement was good enough to sell this book to me. There was also another thing about the discussion. I didn’t know what Cuckold meant. Like a good ambassador of my generation, I googled it and stumbled upon the wikipedia page of Cuckold. It said,

“Cuckold historically referred to a husband with an adulterous wife and is still often used with this meaning. In evolutionary biology, the term cuckold is also applied to males who are unwittingly investing parental effort in offspring that are not genetically their own.Since the 1990s, the term has also been widely used to refer to a sexual fetish in which the fetishist is stimulated by their committed partner choosing to have sex with someone else”

This took my curiosity to different level and I had no option but to read it asap. The book is first person narration of Maharaj Kumar, from the kingdom of Chittor , of the Mewad dynasty. Based on 17th century, the book shows the era of volatility of Princely states and the fear of British invasion to these states.

Fictional life of Maharaj Kumar is loosely based on real life ruler Thakur Bhojpur. Maharaj Kumar’s wife is very close inspiration from the Mira Bai, a cult figure in the Hindu devotional circles. The book portrays not only  the high royal lifestyle but also the hint of Rajputana arrogance and alpha male machoness.

The plot moves to court-rooms, recreational halls, battle grounds and romantic gardens. Kiran gives tastes of all aspects of High-born emotions with love, hate, politics, lust and insecurities.

Eventually there were wars and betrayals, two of the most sought after royal recipe. Overall, the book takes the reader to the different era of Indian history. The characters are well shaped and stay honest to their architecture.

On the book cover, there is a praise by Khushwant Singh, stating “One of the best by an Indian“, which is obviously a huge compliment to the book. The language of the book did miss out the classic edge, the one we expect in historical fictions. Also some episodes might have been too obvious and too predictable at the time. However, the book knew how to entertain and keep the history relevant. In 2000, the book won the author, India’s National Academy of Letters Award.

I rated Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar, 3 out of 5 stars in Definitely, one of the important books from India, even if not the finest one.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. who are the publishers?


    1. The edition i have is published by Harper Collins


  2. uma says:

    Just learnt a new word here “Cuckold”…the book sounds from a different era and it looks like something worth to read by reading your review.


    1. It is indeed an interesting book, as you said, from the different era.
      Do go for it .


  3. I read it in original Marathi version. It must have been tough for the royal Rajput male to compete with a God-fantasizing Meera.
    I wish the book was edited shorter and crisper. I just did not get the Rajah’s obsession with creating drainage system across his land. Did you?


    1. I agree the book should have been edited better. There were so many obsession in the book: Meera’s, Rajputs for glory and raja’s for Drainage: dont know which to approve or otherwise 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. rumadak says:

    I hardly read Indian authors’s work. this one looks like a good read! Added to my TBR List!!


    1. Thank you for your comment. Indian writing in English is really coming up. You wont be disappointed with this one

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Lit Room says:

    I read this book but I felt quite inadequate writing about it. Not much literature around it then but it’s great to read this post! Did you have a lot of questions after reading this too?


    1. First of all, a hi-five for reading and enjoying this book. I had lot of questions when I read this book, in-fact I was all over google looking to read about the Mewads, Meera bai and other historical references in the book.


      1. The Lit Room says:

        Oh! And did you find anything? I was especially enthralled by how the prince was constantly being compared against Krishna throughout the book 🙂


      2. No, I think so a lot in the book is from the author’s imagination. Not much historical facts to back the comparison.


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