The Dog's Tale a life in the Buda Hills - Rani Drew
The Dog's Tale a Life in the Buda Hills
Set in Hungary between the Russian occupation and the Balkan war, life viewed through the eyes of a rescued dog has a touch of Kafka. Buddhist dimensions of evolution disillusionment and enlightenment influence the dog's outlook on the place of animals in the human world. Written with warmth, humour and sensitivity.
'Rani Drew directs her ensemble cast with the gentle wit and lightness of touch of a consummate puppeteer: her ‘not so shaggy’ dog’s tale provokes without preaching.' - Jaysinh Birjepatil, Novelist (U.S.A.).
'The Dog’s Tale is a work of exceptional charm and experimental verve that deserves a readership one wishes was not confined to the human species alone.' - Rukmini Bhaya Nair, Poet & Critic (India).
'Rani Drew, in her animal guise, writes with attention, caring, and an easy-flowing style which will make this book a favourite with readers.'
- Nádasdy Ádám, Poet & Translator (Hungary).
'The Dog’s Tale is a message, equivocal as it may be, to many men, women, and nations yearning for their own individual and collective freedoms.' - Riad Nourallah, Poet (England).
Most of the stories were written in Budapest where I lived and worked during the 90’s. Hungary is very much a dog-loving country, and it seemed appropriate to explore ‘dog life’ there. I soon discovered that one story lead to another, making the telling of the tales endless. But I returned to UK in 2000 and concentrated on theatre work. As a result, the dog stories were relegated to the back burner.
Three years later I left for China where I was appointed as Playwright in Residence at Henan University. Whilst there, a small publisher in the UK became interested in publishing the dog stories, and wanted them to be wrapped up with a proper ending. This set me writing the dog stories again with a proper conclusion in mind. Being in China meant becoming conscious of different cultural dimensions. The Zodiac calendar is something you cannot remain unaware of if you are in China for two years. During the three episodes I wrote in China, the protagonist develops a higher consciousness of human actions: of violence and wars, refugees and migrations, of suffering and compassion. Buddhist sensibility was making its way into the stories.
It was not until I was back in the UK I decided on three more episodes in which the Buddhist dimension is brought into full play: Evolution, Disillusionment and Enlightenment. I had three traditions to draw from. I am Indian by birth, and somewhere embedded in my writing, must lie the influence of an Indian outlook on the place of animals in the human world.Panchtantra and Jataka Tales added to the Chinese Zodiac stories. These traditions began to claim space in the western animal landscape I was bringing into view. The animal's perception of its domestication becomes more acute, and an instinctive longing for the wild becomes sharper.