Lanka’s Princess was one of the last big releases of 2016. With a gorgeous cover, a unique concept and the glorious track record of the author, this book manages to put together every key ingredient of a bestseller. And it is definitely here to rule for some more time.
So, what is the book all about?
Indian mythology and particularly epics like Ramayana & Mahabharata have gone through countless interpretation & retelling. Author Kavita Kane’s mythological narratives have been compelling read, as she brought to life characters like – Sita’s sister, Karna’s wife which otherwise very few readers of these epics would have actually delved into.
Lanka’s princess is one such work with a seemingly peripheral character of Ramayana – Surpanakha, the infamous sister of Ravana. But it is only knowing the world of this princess, we get to know so many layers of her character and the critical role she plays in Ramayana and its epic war.
What was Surpankha – The Lanka’s princess really like? And why she did what she did?
These and every such question that a reader may have before or during the reading gets answered beautifully in this book. Surpanakha is perhaps the most misunderstood and one of the least analysed character of Ramayana. A woman, a monster. More hated than hateful. Accused of perpetrating the epic war. Victim of a epic mutilation. Remember the most infamous incident of Ramayana, wherein Lakshman chops off Surpanakha’s nose? That is perhaps the most salient image of Surpanakha.
Her birth, childhood, adolescence, every stage has shocking incidents that made the monster she is better known as. Unwanted and often abandoned by her own parents, unfolding of her relationship with them and her three brothers – Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Vibhishan explain the minor nuances of her character. From Meenakshi to Surpanakha, the journey of this sister, daughter, lover, wife and mother is extremely fascinating. From physical appearance to dialogues to action, every aspect of the writing brought alive the Lanka’s Princess and the people in her life.
Frankly, I have not seen a better character outlining in a book. As a reader you are part of her life journey and feel closer to this peculiar family in Lanka. The interpersonal relationships – sibling rivalry between Ravan, Surpanakha or the couple conflicts & dynamics of all the characters are very much relate able and appear real life. The story of Ramayana may not be new to you, but this retelling from a completely different perspective with a absolutely different pivotal character makes it a refreshing read.
At a spiritual – intellectual level, I feel this story brings to light the dichotomy of human behavior. The good the bad, virtue and vices, righteousness and the selfish greed for power and supremacy, the judgement of what is right and wrong. What is a human if not a intriguing amalgamation of all these….
Author: Kavita Kane
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Release: December 2016
Genre: Fiction / Mythological
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