Author: Kavita Kane
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Genre: Historical Fiction
Kavita Kane’s novel, Lanka’s Princess, narrated from the POV of Ravan’s infamous sister, Surpanakha is a retelling of one of histories most epic tales, Ramayana. It is a story of war, death, hatred and vengeance. There are several questions that come in one’s mind. Was Surpankha an evil, blood thirsty woman who led to the tragic death of her own brother or lack of acceptance and love transformed a once meek and shy girl into a living monster? The answer lies at your understanding of the novel. I think books such as this one, leave so much to the imagination. I guess that’s what the author meant to do. Show us the state of the misunderstood Suparnakha.
Surpanakha’s childhood has been dealt with extensively, what she was like being born into a family of rishis and asuras, the circumstances that led to her change, and her ongoing battle with her mother that ultimately instilled revenge and hate. When reading the book, I felt various emotions for Surpanakha. It’s not whether her actions justified the bloodshed and loss but what forced her to take such drastic steps. In retrospect, she suffered a lot. Right from being neglected by her parents and brothers in her childhood to always competing for her parents love. Constantly trying to prove her worth but failing each time. People who were close to her left her. Her father left her after Ravan captured Lanka. Her grandmother whom she had immense respect for was killed. She lost her husband. Her son was killed. Her face was maimed by Lakshman. Suparnakha lived a life of pain and loss.
The writing is beautiful. The book is well researched and the descriptions are vivid making the readers travel into the ancient times. Kavita Kane is no doubt a prolific writer weaving intense emotions throughout the book. Although at one point the story reached a dry state but it was soon replaced with fast actions and the story kept moving forward. I haven’t read Indian Mythology much but it was a different experience. The characterisation especially those of the female characters was pretty impressive. The author through her powerful words made suparnakha speak out against the injustices. It was empowering considering the status of women in those times.
“Words once spoken could not be redeemed, they were like inflicted wounds, the imminent scars lingering long. A curse could not be renegaded: not even the mightiest spell could allay the power of the uttered word.”
Most people aren’t what they seem. History has always been a subject to fabrication. You can no longer decide what is wrong or right. Everyone is a victim of circumstances and what they choose to do is a reflection of their surrounding. Indian Mythology has considered Suparnakha to be the untamed, rebellious sister but the reality is very different. Kavita Kane’s novel delves into the psyche of Suparnakha and various other characters.
If you’re looking into reading Indian mythologies, Lanka’s Princess is a good book to start with.
Which is your favourite Mythology?
I received a copy of Lanka’s Princess from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review”