"Premchand is the most famous Hindi novelist, and Godaan is Premchand’s most celebrated novel. Economic and social conflict in a north Indian village are brilliantly captured in the story of Hori, a poor farmer, and his family’s struggle for survival and self-respect. Hori does everything he can to fulfill his life’s desire: to own a cow, the peasant’s measure of wealth and well-being. Like many Hindus of his time, he believes that making the gift of a cow to a Brahman before he dies will help him achieve salvation. An engaging introduction to India before independence, Godaan is at once village ethnography, moving human document, and insightful colonial history. Out of print for many years, this translation is regarded as a classic in itself."