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Mandodari: Queen of Lanka Paperback – 13 Jul 2018
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About the Author
Manini J. Anandani is a passionate mythologist, currently pursuing her PGD in comparative mythology from Mumbai University. This is her first book.
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Although the story of Ramayana and thus the character of Mandodri is known to most of us from childhood days, here she is personified completely differently . The way the story is presented, one looks forward to the next chapter with anxiety and enthusiasm.
New perspectives are introduced in every chapter which makes it interesting and compells one to continue reading. The narrative is so expressive that the characters come alive in front of our eyes and we start visualizing the scene in our mind. We get to understand the entire epic rewritten from Mandodari's perspective.
Apart from being a dutiful wife , Mandodari was a righteous and brave queen. The struggle within her as a wife, a mother and a queen has been beautifully depicted. Both The emotional and practical aspects of the queen Mandodari have been presented in a well balanced manner.
Best thing about the book is that not many lines have been dedicated to well known incidents, rather they have been woven well with the story to explore more of little known territories.
Strongly recommend to every book lover. Looking forward eagerly to next book of Manini
The best thing about the book is that the author told the story of a queen more as a normal woman than a queen. She used to gossip with her sakhis, love her parents, be jealous when other women sleep with her husband and cry when her children die. The author portrayed Mandodari as a lovely daughter, dutiful wife,a caring mother and then a queen. An extract I found brilliant is:
"why had the Gods been so unfair to me?My daughter was estranged from me. I had left her all those years ago and she had found her way back to me.Even though I could not love her like her mother.Then Meghnath, who is more his father's son then mine. Worst of all the loss of AkshayaKumar, my youngest in a ridiculous battle.Was this to be my fate as a Queen?"
From the start to finish, the author managed to keep the story through Mandodari's eye and never told those happening which we know from Ramayana but Mandodari didn't. That's really inimitable. The royal set creating, the character building was fine. The storytelling style was simple but soulful. The novel is full of a lot of things we don't know. We can see a fully different side of Lankeswar Ravana. The author made the characters and the set lively with her skill. She detailed the plot when needed, and shortened when not, so the book size is really comfortable and you can finish this with one sitting. But I suggest you a little slow read to enjoy this melancholy overtone, because it is one of the most hearty and emotional retelling.
Also the author avoided the dramatic exaggeration of original Ramayana, and made it more realistic.
The biggest difference from the valmiki Ramayana was the link between Seeta and Ravana-Mandodari. I will not tell it because I don't want to spoil the story line. The author took reference from the Gunabhadara's Uttara Purana & Sanghadasa's Jaina Ramayana where there was the link. The author also masterfully matched all the loops at last and made a decent finish.
So full of so much quality, this modern take on of Ramayana is really hearty, soulful, emotional and grand. This retelling can also be described as a feminist milestone by a female debut author where we can see the life of a woman full of hazard and mishaps in the disguise of a mythological character.
A Must Read!
OVARALL RATING: 5/5
Thanks to the author for this beautiful ARC.