01 September 2010

Trilogy: For those who want two times more...

When you love a book you never want it to end.. and wish for more.. and then a Part two comes up giving you double the joy.. but then nothing can beat a Trilogy... Its triple times pleasure of a good book.. reading your characters growing, ageing, evolving, new generations, new characters and newer challenges. I have had a good fortune reading some of the known trilogies and unlike the movies where the first one is always the best, I beg to differ cos I have enjoyed each of the books and every following part has been equally satisfying...


A trilogy can take birth due to many factors. Some times a book is structured in a single work in form of an epic and later divided in chapters or sections. It can be either due to increasing popularity, creative genius of the publishers or pure financial reasons, the book is divided in three parts and re-launched in the next edition to get more readers & reach out to the larger audience... 

The Lord of the Rings written in 1940s is available as one volume & also in three volumes of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Strangely it was initially structured in 6 books part of a big epic book with appendices & prologue. But due to paper shortage in WWII it was divided in 3 volumes and sold as trilogy. Its beneficial for the publishers as they get to earn for 3 in place of 1 also if they like Part I then Part II & III are a definite sell. As for the readers they get to read 3 books in place of one and psychologically it gives you a feeling of getting more and bonding with the author as one waits for the release of the book...
 Sometimes riding on the recent waves of success of the book the publisher encourages the author to write the next part or parts hence launching the Trilogy. The fans of the book will always rush for the next one.. like what happened with JK Rowling on Harry Potter series which eventually ended up churning 6 more books one after the other before drying the author’s creativity and she had to got drained to end it all in the 7th and the last part.

But hitting off all the three books is a very dicey business for the author and publisher but it may be to cash on the success of other similar trilogies. You might have heard of the famous author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni but I am sure not many have heard of her children fantasy trilogy books of Brotherhood of the Conch. Being a great fan of her works I read the first part The Conch Bearer and it has the fantasy books cliché of a chosen one on a special journey... and it could not motivate me to read the next two parts. But my recent read The Immortals of Meluha makes me wait with abated breath for the next two parts!!!

It is not always true that the first book paves way for the others, sometimes the second book also brings late publicity to the first work.. and the biggest example is The Da Vinci Code published in 2003 which re-launched Angels & Demons published in 2000 and finally the last part The Lost Symbol published in 2009. In fact the Cinematic adaption validated the order of success of The Da Vinci Code followed by its predecessor Angels & Demons.

 

At other times after the first book, the reader's demand leads to issue of next parts even by a different author. Mario Puzo wrote The God Father in 1969 but the next parts were written by Mark Winegardner in 2000s and published as The Godfather Returns (2004) and The Godfather's Revenge (2006).

But everyone still feels its a Trilogy from the Trilogy Films even though books were writen much later....But then cinema drives a lot of things and there are trilogies which were never trilogies... Say Apu Trilogy films by Satyajit Ray – if you have read the books you would knows there are only two books Pather Panchali and Aprajito written in 1929 & 1932 respectively but they have been made into three movies with the last one as Apur Sansar which have become more popular as Apu Trilogy. For me it was just the opposite, when I read the books I wasn’t aware of the movies... and on hearing about the movies I was curious as to how come I have missed the third book and I had to read it no matter what. Only later I realised that it’s due to Ray’s cinematic vision that gave birth to Apu Trilogy now sold as three separate books...

This brings us to the interesting topic of Books ‘Duology’ this term does not exist but we can definitely discuss ‘trilogy minus one’ in my future blogs!! So long till then.


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