The Gospel of Yudas
Author: K.R. Meera
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (Penguin Books)
Genre: Adult fiction, Regional Literature
Blurb (as on Goodreads):
Young and impressionable, Prema is deeply infatuated with Yudas, the enigmatic man who dredges corpses from the bottom of the nearby lake. Longing to be rescued from the tyranny of her father, a former policeman who zealously tortured Naxalite rebels during the Emergency, Prema dreams of escape and finds herself drawn to the Naxal political ideology. Convinced that Yudas was one of the inmates at her father’s prison camp, Prema believes that only he can save her. But Yudas is haunted by secrets of his own, and like his biblical namesake Judas Iscariot, he bears the burden of crushing guilt. In her passionate pursuit of the mercurial Yudas, Prema is plunged into a world
of terrifying truths and insidious lies. Ferociously powerful and utterly absorbing, The Gospel of Yudas raises alarmingly relevant questions about the politics of allegiance and the price of idealism. It is also a deeply human story about remorse, redemption, and love.Disturbing and agonizing tale of infatuation and revolution, The Gospel of Yudas takes you through the trials and tribulations faced by the members of the Naxalite movement that took place in India during Indira Gandhi’s reign.
15-year-old Prema falls in love with Yudas, an older guy who has seen bad days like no one. He suffers the loss of his loved ones and blames himself for their deaths. He has nothing to offer Prema other than stories of the times when his life went helter-skelter. But Prema wants more. She wants a life with Yudas, a life free from all the pains of the past. Prema knows her life is incomplete and worthless without Yudas, and she goes on an endless search for him. The details of the Naxalite movement and how it scarred people for life is thus revealed to us readers, details that are horrific.
The characters are well written, and each character has a piece of their own hell. The story is narrated by Prema and her POV is driven by infatuation, lust and a life that she has indefinitely dedicated to Yudas, irrespective of his presence or approval.
The plot can get pretty disturbing at times. I wished to see more of Yudas and his involvement in the story (especially when he found a place in the title). However, his stories of suffering and love exist as a constant shadow throughout the 150-page read.
- Fierce yet disturbing tales of the Naxalite movement
- Wicked characters
- Undying love
- Some great symbolism (which is typical of any K.R. Meera piece :))
There’s something extremely unsettling about this novella/prose. I can’t put my finger on it but I will let you know if I do get to figure that out. (Maybe the ending)