Thursday, January 15, 2015

Karna's Wife: The Outcast's Queen (Book Review)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Draupadi's version of the Mahabharata, for the first time in life, my interest in Mahabharata had been evoked! I saw another dimension to the entire patriarchal setup where the supposedly 'good' side turned 'evil' in different ways. Thankfully, Ajaya by Anand Neelakantan came my way pretty soon and now this. It has enriched my experience of the great epic. It also helped in reliving the Sunday episodes of Mahabharata that used to be a family affair years ago.The characters played by the actors remains imprinted on my mind even after all these years and their images remain crystal clear in my mind even though television sets in those days didn't come with Crystal Clear Technology that they often boast about today.

I was too young to understand the complexities of the plot then. But today, I appreciate the epic and I admire those who dig deeper and read between the lines to bring new viewpoints that not only seem real but sometimes interests the reader more than the original, be it by way of writing it in a simplified manner or by connecting it to the current scenario.

The author's victory is when the reader can empathize with the characters and feel as strongly as them. Till today I wondered why the elders stayed mum when a woman was dishonoured in-front of their own eyes, by their own off-springs. But Kavita has justified it so well. The reasoning is something that I found to be very powerful here. Inspite of all the injustice meted out by both the Kuru and the Pandava clan towards each other, by the time one turns the last page it all surprisingly falls into place. The flames rising within one's soul seem to die a natural death, cooled by something that we quite often recognize namely as 'Destiny'.

- Divya Nambiar

Author: Kavita Kané
Other books by the author: Sita's Sister by Kavita Kané

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