Book Review of The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
When HarperCollins people asked me to review this book ‘The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’ I jumped with joy, because one of Author Chitra’s previous book The Palace of Illusion is one of my favorite books and the impact it left on me was huge, hence the level of excitement for this latest book was obviously high.
Opening Lines: TWO DAYS AGO, THE SAGE handed me the tome he had been composing for decades.
Page count: 372 pages
Publication Date: January 25th, 2019
This novel ‘The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’ is a modern retelling of the age-old saga of Ramayana, through Sita’s perspective, this enchanting tale tells us a story of Sita in her various stages of womanhood: From a girl with many dreams regarding her life and the man she will get to marry one day to a daughter, to a wife, to a daughter-in-law, to a Sister-in-law and in the end to an ultimate woman who stood for her self-respect for the sake of other women, chose to die rather than be a queen.
When I started reading the retelling by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, I went through several emotions mixed with heightened expectations.
After a long time, I read such a book: dense narrative, several characters, a story I have been hearing since my childhood, and yet riveting.
They say Ramayana is glorified because of Ram but I say Ramayana couldn’t have been glorified without Sita.
Most of us are aware of what happened in the Ramayana but did we ever stop and think of what happened and why it happened from Sita’s perspective.
Chitra’s The Forest of Enchantments is told so poignantly, that every cell of my being is reeling in pain of Sita, the injustice done to her has me still in shock. I was left heartbroken when for the first time she had to take the ‘Agni Pariksha’. Oh, The Injustice!!!. And I keeled over in this unbearable pain of Sita when she decided to return to the womb of mother earth.
A retelling of a mythological tale is always a difficult task. And the author Chitra has successfully told a story so complex, enthralling and enchanting her readers till the end of the book.
And the author didn’t forget her other characters, she did full justice to all her characters giving us a glimpse to their past and present, especially of Kaushalya, Mandodari, Kaikeyi, Sarama, Ahalya etc. The thing I loved most about the book is how Sita discovers love in different forms and in different stages of her life. But also there were certain parts of the book I may have not agreed with, but it doesn’t make any difference about how I felt about the retelling.
The written style is as smooth as a flowing river. Chitra’s simple yet poetic style make reading more enjoyable.
Do I recommend this book?
Of course, I do, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. This book is for everyone who loves to read Mythology.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
About the Author
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Born: Kolkata, India
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