He describes Rao as one of the most innovative novelists of the 20th century who departed boldly from the European tradition of the novel, which he indigenised in the process of assimilating material from the Indian literary tradition.

The vibrant tales in Collected Stories traverse the entire span of Rao's literary career and reveal his deep understanding of village life and his passion for India's freedom struggle besides showcasing his experimentation with form and style.

The stories range from ones written by a struggling young writer to those of later years, displaying a mature, stylistic formation.

Parthasarathy says Rao's short stories reveal him as a master who extended the possibilities of the genre and in his hands, the form becomes an instrument of metaphysical inquiry that transforms the language into true poetry.

"Collected Stories" has tales from Rao's "The Cow of the Barricades and Other Stories" and "The Policeman and the Rose: Stories".

One of the most innovative novelists of the 20th century, Rao departed boldly from the European tradition of the novel, which he indigenised in the process of assimilating material from the Indian literary tradition.

Rao, regarded as a path-breaker of Indian writing in English, was born in Hassan in Mysore in 1909. After he graduated from Madras University, he went on to the University of Montpellier in France on a scholarship.

Later he moved to US in 1966, where he taught at the University of Texas at Austin until 1983, when he retired as emeritus professor.

Known to be a powerful and profound writer, Rao successfully and imaginatively appropriated English for the Indian narrative. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 2007, the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1964 and the US' Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1988.

"Kanthapura" is regarded as the first major Indian novel in English and is the story of how Mahatma Gandhi's struggle for independence came to a casteist south Indian village.

Young Moorthy, back from the city, brimming with new ideas, seeks to cut across ancient barriers and unite the villagers in non-violent action.

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