The Forest of Enchantments - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
*Goodreads rating 4.2*
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version.
The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men, as Chitra transforms an ancient story into a gripping, contemporary battle of wills.
While the Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’
'One of the most strikingly lyrical voices writing about the lives of Indian women' -- Amitav Ghosh
'Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni turns the Ramayana around by telling it in the voice of Sita ... this inversion is a gift - it presents us a with a way to know an already well-known story better and to love an already beloved story more'-- Arshia Sattar
'This inspired evocation of the goddess Sita is an epic song of strength and solidarity told with joy and intensity. It brings to life the personalities and predicaments of the Ramayana' -- Namita Gokhale
'Among the many, many Ramayanas there are now even - thankfully - some "Sitayanas", but I know of none with the special magic that Chitra Divakaruni ... brings to the telling' -- Philip Lutgendorf
'Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's Sita ... is an epitome of courage and self-respect, showing a path for all women. While weaving a familiar story, Chitra provides deep and surprising insights' -- Volga