Contents: General Preface. 1. Introduction. 2. Fire on the mountain: the text. 3. Critical summary of the text. 4. Themes. 5. Characters. 6. Images and symbols. 7. Narrative technique. 8. The novel as feminist discourse. Sample questions. Bibliography.
"Fire on the Mountain (1977), winner of the 1978 National Academy of Letters Award, and generally considered Desai's masterpiece, is a beautiful novel, focused on two elderly ladies and one small girl. Nanda Kaul retires to a hill station house in her old age, and leads an isolated life there, when her great-granddaughter comes to stay. With the arrival of Raka the story takes a new turn, gathers momentum, and unfurls quickly to a symbolic end when the mountain has been set on fire.
The Atlantic critical study of Fire on the Mountain, which is primarily meant for the students of English literature of Indian universities, is a comprehensive, self-sufficient and in-depth study of the text. The author, a distinguished scholar in the area, has taken special care to combine lucidity and profundity in her treatment of the text. In its eight chapters the present study examines the text from various angles such as the title, themes, characters, images and symbols, narrative technique, and feminist discourse, in addition to providing an 'introduction', a brief 'story-outline', and a detailed 'critical summary' of the entire text in its three parts, along with a 'select bibliography' and sample questions. The book will be immensely useful for students, scholars and teachers in the area." (jacket)