Book Review: Lanka's Princess by Kavita Kané

  • ISBN: 9788129144515
  • Genre: Fiction / Mythology
  • Publishers: Rupa
  • Price: Rs.295/- (I got this book from the publisher for a review)

Surpanakha, Ravan’s infamous sister—ugly and untamed, brutal and brazen. This is how she is commonly perceived. One whose nose was sliced off by an angry Lakshman and the one who started a war but was she really just perpetrator of war? Or was she a victim? Was she Lanka’s princess? Or was she the reason for its destruction?

Surpanakha, meaning the woman as hard as nails was born as Meenakshi—the one with beautiful, fish-shaped eyes. Growing up in the shadows of her brothers, who were destined to win wars, fame and prestige, she, instead, charts up a path filled with misery and revenge.

Accused of manipulating events between Ram and Ravan, which culminated in a bloody war and annihilation of her family, Surpanakha is often the most misunderstood character in the Ramayana. Kavita Kané 's Lanka’s Princess tells the story from the vantage of this woman more hated than hateful…
Behind the book

About the Author

A senior journalist with a career of over two decades, which includes working for Magna publication and DNA, she quit her job as Assistant Editor of Times of India to devote herself as a full time author. A self-styled aficionado of cinema and theatre and sufficiently armed with a post-graduate degree in English Literature and Mass Communication from the University of Pune, the only skill she knows, she candidly confesses, is writing.

Karna's Wife her debut novel, (2013)was a bestseller. Her second novel - Sita's Sister (2014) also deals with another enigmatic personality - Urmila, probably the most overlooked character in the Ramayan. Menaka's Choice(2015) ,another best-seller, is about the famous apsara and her infamous liaison with Vishwamitra the man she was sent to destroy. Lanka's Princess (2016) is her fourth book based on Ravan's sister, Surpanakha, the Princess of Lanka who was also its destroyer...

Born in Mumbai, a childhood spent largely in Patna and Delhi , Kavita currently lives in Pune with her mariner husband Prakash and two daughters Kimaya and Amiya with Chic the black cocker spaniel and Cotton the white, curious cat.

Me thinks

I remember reading a very detailed article on how we have started exploring mythology in different aspects by retelling famous stories from new angles and bringing forth perspectives which is very different from what we have grown up listening to in childhood. The author comes across as someone who has mastered the art of retelling the mythological folklore.

Having grown up despising Surpanakha to an extent due to her antics this story was a refreshing read in terms of the descriptions. The layers of her character brought out so beautifully by the author make her more relatable now than she ever was. It is like trying to see her a new light altogether and in a way try to understand why she behaved the way she behaved.

I like the narrative which is fluid and very breezy. It is an enjoyable read with the characters nicely fleshed out and each adding value to the plot rather than being just mere cardboard cutouts or extensions of author's imagination. Though I despised the usage of words like dark and ugly more than once as it was not only redundant and repetitive but also something which according to me is not the right way to describe a character. The words could have been chosen wisely to show her transformation from beautiful to not so beautiful anymore.

Apart from that a perfectly enjoyable read which brightened up one weekend for me as I soaked myself in a very well told story and tried answering some of the questions I had in mind since childhood. Strongly recommended for all mythology lovers, Kavita Kane is one author that you should not miss I have started loving her characterization and her writing style of creating strong female characters to retell a folklore.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Balushahi - crunchy, crispy, and delectable.
Source: Indian food recipes

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