The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni | Book Review
The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni | HarperCollins | Book Review | Booxoul

The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: January 25th, 2019

My Views

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


The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni | Book Review

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About the Author

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the author of 'The Forest of Enchantments' | Book Review

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Born: Kolkata, India


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her themes include the Indian experience, contemporary America, women, immigration, history, myth, and the joys and challenges of living in a multicultural world. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 29 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Hindi, and Japanese. Divakaruni also writes for children and young adults. Her novels One Amazing Thing, Oleander Girl, Sister of My Heart and Palace of Illusions are currently in the process of being made into movies.… Her newest novel is Before We Visit the Goddess (about 3 generations of women– grandmother, mother, and daughter– who each examine the question “what does it mean to be a successful woman.”) Simon & Schuster. 

She was born in India and lived there until 1976, at which point she left Calcutta and came to the United States. She continued her education in the field of English by receiving a Master’s degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. 

To earn money for her education, she held many odd jobs, including babysitting, selling merchandise in an Indian boutique, slicing bread in a bakery, and washing instruments in a science lab. At Berkeley, she lived in the International House and worked in the dining hall. She briefly lived in Illinois and Ohio but has spent much of her life in Northern California, which she often writes about. She now lives in Texas, which has found its way into her upcoming book, Before We Visit the Goddess. 

Chitra currently teaches in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program at the Univ. of Houston. She serves on the Advisory board of Maitri in the San Francisco Bay Area and Daya in Houston. Both these are organizations that help South Asian or South Asian American women who find themselves in abusive or domestic violence situations. She is also closely involved with Pratham, an organization that helps educate children (especially those living in urban slums) in India. 

She has judged several prestigious awards, such as the National Book Award and the PEN Faulkner Award. 

Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into movies by filmmakers Gurinder Chadha and Paul Berges (an English film) and Suhasini Mani Ratnam (a Tamil TV serial) respectively. Her novels One Amazing Thing and Palace of Illusions have currently been optioned for movies. Her book Arranged Marriage has been made into a play and performed in the U.S. and (upcoming, May) in Canada. River of Light, an opera about an Indian woman in a bi-cultural marriage, for which she wrote the libretto, has been performed in Texas and California.

She lives in Houston with her husband Murthy. She has two sons, Anand, and Abhay (whose names she has used in her children’s novels). 

Chitra loves to connect with readers on her Facebook author page,, and on Twitter, @cdivakaruni.

For more information about her books, please visit, where you can also sign up for her newsletter. 

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