THE APPRENTICE is a novel totally different in tone from
all other novels and writings of Arun Joshi. The protagonist,
Ratan Rathor, represents the quintessence Everyman - a
contrast to other protagonists in so far as his intellectual level
is much lower. An unsophisticated youth, jobless, he comes
to the city in search of a career; unscrupulous and ready to
prostitute himself for professional advancement Seduced by
materialistic values, he takes a bribe to clear a large lot of
defective weapons. As a consequence, a brigadier, who is
also his friend, has to desert his post and, to escape ignomy,
commit suicide. A penitent Rathor, avoids confessing his
guilt, but, tries to achieve redemption by cleaning the shoes
of devotees, every morning, at a temple.
THE APPRENTICE attacks materialistic values but with a
different strategy. Ratan Rathor wades through corruption to
arrive at an understanding of life and its affirmations.
According to World Literature Today, "the novel is cast in
a series of Browning-like monologues, to a boy to whom the
protagonist, burdened with sorrow of 'a wasted life', lays
bare the motives, aspirations, dilemmas and frustrations of
ARUN JOSHI (1939-1993) was educated in India and USA.
He got his Masters Degree in Management from the M.LT.
His five novels and a collection of short stories won him
critical acclaim and a recognition as an author of rare
sensitivity and exceptional talent. The Last Labyrinth was
selected for a prestigious Sahitya Academy Award, India's
highest literary honour. [via]