The Immortal King Rao Pdf Summary Reviews By Vauhini Vara

The Immortal King Rao Pdf Summary

In an Indian village in the 1950s, a precocious child is born into a family of Dalit coconut farmers. King Rao will grow up to be the most accomplished tech CEO in the world and, eventually, the leader of a global, corporate-led government.

In a future in which the world is run by the Board of Corporations, King’s daughter, Athena, reckons with his legacy—literally, for he has given her access to his memories, among other questionable gifts.

With climate change raging, Athena has come to believe that saving the planet and its Shareholders will require a radical act of communion—and so she sets out to tell the truth to the world’s Shareholders, in entrancing sensory detail, about King’s childhood on a South Indian coconut plantation; his migration to the U.S. to study engineering in a world transformed by globalization; his marriage to the ambitious artist with whom he changed the world; and, ultimately, his invention, under self-exile, of the most ambitious creation of his life—Athena herself.

The Immortal King Rao, written by a former Wall Street Journal technology reporter, is a resonant debut novel obliterating the boundaries between literary and speculative fiction, the historic and the dystopian, confronting how we arrived at the age of technological capitalism and where our actions might take us next.


The Immortal King Rao Review

Mal Warwick


5.0 out of 5 stars A novel dystopian story that explores anarchism and capitalism
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 30, 2022

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In her impressive debut novel, The Immortal King Rao, Canadian-American journalist Vauhini Vara probes the heart of the capitalist system with a cold-eyed look at its central premise, the cult of perpetual growth. The eponymous King Rao has “left this world as the most influential person ever to have lived. He entered it possessing not even a name.” And King Rao, by the way, is the name he received as a child in India, not a title. So begins this engrossing dystopian story.
A unique take on a future society

The tale is set in the mid-22nd century, when Hothouse Earth has become a reality and society worldwide has been transformed into a corporatist state. An artificial intelligence called the Thinker allocates resources and protects people and property from harm. And a Board of Shareholders nominally governs a society in which everyone, rich or poor, is a Shareholder entitled to a slice of society’s profits. That share is tiny for most, enormous for a few. And the Shareholder concept, the Board, and all the rest was King Rao’s creation.

The remarkable man at the heart of this dystopian story

King Rao was born a Dalit, or Untouchable, in 1951 in what is today the state of Andhra Pradesh. His daughter, Athena, narrates the story of his childhood in India and his education at the country’s top engineering school and, later, in the United States. She recalls his research on the faculty of what appears to be the University of Washington, his marriage to the daughter of his thesis adviser, and the formation by the three of them of “one of the earliest computer companies” they had grown “into the most valuable corporation on earth.” It was called Coconut, recalling the groves of coconut trees that supported the village in which King Rao was born and raised.
Billions live the life King Rao designed, but there are dissenters

Through King Rao’s invention of the Coconut, an early microcomputer, and a flood of later innovations, he has come to be regarded as “the greatest innovator the world’s ever” known. “And then, at an age when most men are well into their retirement, he had rescued the planet from nation-state rule, which was bringing society to ruin, and engineered a calm and peaceful transition to Shareholder Government.” Nearly everyone now lives the life King Rao designed for them—but there are dissenters. Small numbers of “Exes” have opted out of Shareholder society and, through an agreement arranged by the Thinker, they have moved to islands around the world where they practice a working form of anarchism based on barter.
Something has gone badly wrong

But something has gone badly wrong in King Rao’s life, and in his daughter’s. Now more than 100 years of age and widely considered immortal, he lives in disgrace and isolation in a palatial home on a tiny island in Puget Sound. And Athena tells the tale from her cell in the Margaret Rao Detention Center, named for her late mother. There, she is serving a lifetime sentence for murder. How it all went south, and how the island-dwelling Exes relate to Shareholder society, is the heart of this tale.

Beverly Jackson

4.0 out of 5 stars Smart, Clear-eyed, Riveting!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 12, 2022

A clear-eyed and endlessly thought-provoking entertaining read of the age-old debate of the role of technology as a tool for betterment, and opportunity.

The author displays her journalist skills as she effectively combines a matter-of-fact view with intimate details across a vast and diverse timeline from 1950s India of a rural Dalit community to the 1970s United States and the beginning of the rise the entrepreneurial technological behemoths to the futuristic corporate-run governments with algorithm driven solutions being the norm as climate change rages its revenge.

This was a smart, original, and completely absorbing read for me from the mysterious introduction of the narrator, Althea, accused of murdering her father (the King Rao of the title), the fresh look at the Dalit community, and the encroaching role of technology versus individual choice/freedom.


3.0 out of 5 stars Started strong at least
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 12, 2022

When I first started reading this, I thought to myself that no one should be allowed to write a novel if it doesn’t reach the level of quality that the writing in this is reaching. I read a lot of books, but when one grabs me the way this one did, I remember just how great a book can be (and that I should probably try to read books only at this level or more.) But then I kept reading…

It’s not that this book ever gets bad. There obviously was a great amount of work and imagination put into it. There are some beautiful passages, interesting characters, and insightful commentary on this fictional world that isn’t too far off from where our real world is heading. It’s easy to make comparisons and it’s always fun to read about the near future.

And unlike most cases, I liked that it jumped around in time and perspectives (even justifying how that is possible from one narrator.)

But, put simply, it just kind of plateaus at a certain point and never really gets exciting or interesting again until the end. I keep encountering this, but there was never really a reason to keep reading. I DID keep reading, but easily could have done without whole chapters.

What I will say, though, is that I read The Dispossessed right before this and there are some similar themes (which is always fun, when a theme shows up in back to back books, unintentionally on my part.) This book executed those themes SO much better. Comparing governed societies vs anarchist communes is by far more interesting in this book – giving more context, more details, and overall painting a nicer picture. That definitely added to my enjoyment.

I’m just not sure I can recommend this one. I acknowledge that it is certainly an accomplishment. It’s a lot about a culture I know very little about and was happy to get out of it what I did. But it just kind of lost me after a while, which was really disappointing.

About Vauhini Vara Author Of The Immortal King Rao pdf Book

Vauhini Vara
Vauhini Vara

Vauhini Vara is the O. Henry Award-winning author of forthcoming from W.W. Norton in 2022. She has worked as an editor at the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and the Atlantic, and as a journalist for those publications and others, including the Wall Street Journal, where she began her career. Her fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. She was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised there and in Oklahoma and Washington. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

The Immortal King Rao pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information

the immortal king rao pdf book
the immortal king rao pdf book
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ W. W. Norton & Company (May 3, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0393541754
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0393541755
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.37 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: #104,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • Customer Reviews: 4.1 out of 5 stars    205 ratings

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