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Son of Shiva Paperback – 25 Apr 2017
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About the Author
Preetha Rajah Kannan is the author of Shiva in the City of Nectar, an enthralling collection of stories based on the revered Tamil text, Thiruvilayaadal Puranam. She is also the editor of Navagraha Purana, a translation of the eponymous Telugu work on the mythology of the nine planets, by celebrated author V. S. Rao. Kannan has contributed extensively to newspapers and magazines, such as The New Indian Express and The Express School Magazine. A homemaker and a mother of two boys, she lives with her family in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
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I totally enjoyed the book and found it's dramatic eloquence quite entertaining.
It was also a relief to read a book based on the Indian epics that did not desecrate the original with modern twists.
These are characters I've heard in stories told by my mom and my grandmother. For years, I've heard Hindu mythological stories from my mother and I also grew up reading Amar Chitra Katha comics. Of late retelling of mythology has been all the rage in India but one thing I've noticed is how South Indian Hindu myths are always missing from these retellings. Son of Shiva is a retelling of the epic Khandhapuranam that I've heard from my mother a thousand times. It felt nostalgic to be revisiting all the characters from those stories. I also learnt about more characters; minor ones who are generally left out from storytelling sessions.
While I've been calling Son of Shiva a retelling, it's not so a retelling in the sense that the original story has been changed and twisted. It's a retelling in the sense that the author has concised the huge epic and written it in a language we can all understand equally. My overactive imagination went into the book hoping for a new twist and was disappointed at not having got that. The plot is about the events that lead to the birth of Lord Karthikeya and the war that results in him killing the Asura Surapadhman. Despite having no twist to the original mythology, I enjoyed revisiting the whole story especially the account of the war which is celebrated yearly by Hindus in Tamil Nadu as a triumph of good over evil.
The writing style was a little new to me as it read more like a recounting of events that "fiction" prose, if you know what I mean? While the writing style of the book worked for the book, it took me some 50 pages or so to get into it. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions; especially of the true form of the Gods and that of the various lokas (worlds). It really brought back memories of hearing the myths from family members.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE BOOK
- Revisiting Hindu myths from my childhood
- Learning more about the original stories
- The descriptions
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK
- Totally my fault, but I went in expecting to read a new take on the myths and didn't get it
- The writing style at the beginning
It's a wonderfully written narrative of the events that lead to the death of Asura Surapadhma in the hands of Lord Karthikeya. For many south Indian Hindus, these are a collection of stories we grew up with and it was wonderful to revisit those.
Kartikeya was born from the flames of a desperate need, an ardent desire and an utmost devastation. In him was distilled the terrible powers of Mahadeva, at its fiercest and most deadly. Although he fought many wars and slew many tyrants, his gifts to humanity have always been those of mercy, compassion and love. What makes this possible?
For Kartikeya, there have always been more questions than answers. Did he really walk away from his family over a piece of fruit? What about the women in his life—was he the ravisher he is at times accused of being, or the protector of women? Was he the violent warrior who revelled in bloodlust, or a gentle family man? What was his relationship with his more popular sibling, Ganesha?
Preetha Kannan weaves together myth, imagination and folklore while looking to answer these questions and recreates for modern readers the story of one of the most enigmatic gods—Kartikeya.
mythology is a critical subject and more critical is it’s retelling as if you do not know the tale properly and cannot narrate it in a gripping way then the reader would not find it interesting. I feel it is just a cup of tea for Preetha Kannan for retelling mythology.
the book is the story of Kartikeya told in a new twisted and poetic way. the book focuses on lesser-known characters like demon brothers of soorapadman, ajamukhi- sister of soorapadman, devasena- daughter of Indra and the wife of Kartikeya and finally the most humorous and beautiful of all Krauncha- the talking peacock and the vahana of Kartikeya.
the best part of the book is its beauty in language. I felt that the beauty of the language and lucid vocabulary of the author makes the book, truly a “masterpiece”. one cannot put down the book if you have started once. although the book is of 300 pages, you would at least two days if you are a fast reader- for completing the book, for you need to understand each line along with its difficult words.
the book is a fiction and it totally stands for its genre. you would read new tales like a beauty in a prison- the story of devasena and the linga bathed in blood- the story of ajamukhi.
another perk of the book is its philosophy. you would see a lot of beautiful ideas of philosophy hidden within tales. the way the battles and the other scenes are explained truly captures the full attention of the reader.
the ending is just mesmerising, the way the author makes it a conclusive one where Kartikeya and valli are interlocked in a hug and Ganesha walks away makes it hit the right note.
overall the book is in simple words a “masterpiece”. a perfect tapestry of myth and imagination.
imaginative. intrigue. intense.
I would recommend the book to all the mythology lovers and to everyone who loves fiction and the strong vocabulary.
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