Tonight, under this arena of starlight, I take up my stylus and press it by the glow of a clay lantern into dry palmyra leaves. It is on this night that I dedicate myself – to my self, to who I truly am, to what is invincible and without the bondage of time, that predates me, that will outlive me.
Ninth century. In Puduvai, a small town in what we now know as Tamil Nadu, young Kodhai is taught to read and to write by her adoptive father, a garland-weaving poet. As she discovers the power of words, she also realizes that the undying longing for a great love that she has been nursing within her – one that does not suppress her desire for freedom – is likely to remain unfulfilled. Then, she hears of a vow that she can undertake that might summon it to her.
In deepest winter, the sixteen-year-old begins praying for a divinely sensual love – not knowing that her words will themselves become prayers, and echo through the centuries to come.
Rich with the echoes of classical poetry, in The Queen of Jasmine Country, Sharanya Manivannan imagines the life of the devotional poet Andal, whose sublime and erotic verses remain beloved and controversial to this day.
Opening Lines: It was not always there, and one day it was.
Page Count: 156 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 25th, 2018
This book is love!!!
The more I talk, the less it seems…
The moment I read the first page I was already certain of a few things: This would become one of my all-time favorites and I’d talk about it like crazy. It wouldn’t only leave me to covet for more, but also devastated and heartbroken but also sobbing like a little child.
Well, those things came true, even way earlier than I had initially anticipated. I was about 60% percent when I was first devasted, when Kodhai’s faith in a month-long vow to the Goddess Katyayani: The Paavai Nombu, to seek a fine husband starts to shake. The end, the end broke me! In the best and worst way possible. The emotions piled up and up and up until all I was able to feel was deep longing!!!
This book was just so beautiful! So, so damn beautiful! Sharanya Manivannan definitely has a way with words, she is truly a lyrical writer and I loved how this story was written: pure poetry to my soul. It evoked feelings in me that were profound, melancholic and I was longing for something…
What I loved the most was how she managed to convey Kodhai and her love and longing for Lord Vishnu though. Even though she never went into detail; it was still palpable in every single word. I felt like I was the Andal, her sentiments were mine… and that struck me straight in the feels.
Sharanya absolutely nailed the feeling of the story – plus, the characters were just so expressive, especially Kodhai- the divine poetess, Andal. I was overwhelmed by the intensity of feeling this story was able to elicit…
This book is in itself poetical with a lot of mythological facts and with so many details in so short a book. You wouldn’t want the story to end. And yet the end is the ultimate Nirvana
So, yeah, in summation: READ THIS BOOK! I cannot recommend the book ‘The Queen of Jasmine Country’ enough.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
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