Originally posted by lola610JZeee... it's you Haven't talked to you in forever, how've ya been? Welcome to our mytho hub! From what I've heard of the book, the concept of telling the story from the perspective of its female protagonist is admirable, but the introduction of fauxmances to sell more copies... not so much :P I haven't read this one in particular, but I've been meaning to make a thread on the genre it belongs to - these mytho-based fiction novels are incredibly popular, so much so that KJo is even making a film based on Immortals of Meluha... we've had topics on individual books from the genre before but I think one that collectively discusses all of them might gain more traction. Mind if we convert this to fulfill that purpose? I myself would like to add a few words about Narendra Kohli's Hindi mythofics and the bit of Ashok Banker's Krishna series that I've read. All of them have some good and some bad points about them, and they are definitely worth analyzing.
Yes, it has been forever! But I've been well, et tu?!
So maybe I'm just less reserved about dictations for what sort of alterations I take well, or don't - but while I'd been skeptical about reading such a powerful epic from the POV of a character I have too early on and for far too long been able to dismiss without due credit (and barely not feeling judgmental about) Chitra Lekha made for a seller.
I love reading the myth and epics of any and every religion, because they can make for such intriguing reads just as works of fiction, even if I don't believe them - but it's very rare that I actually conform to any sort of marvel over a myth inspired further fiction. This one was different. I thought the fauxmance in particular was very well woven in. (Sorry if it hurts the religious sentiments or ideologies of anyone, completely unintended on my part). I'm just making a remark as I would reading a book, so please treat it as objectively as that? So anyway - I thought she made for a very interesting faux-perspective of understanding or re-explaining the acts and impulses of a character like Draupadi, who is not always easy to like or hard to judge. It also struck me only reading this book, that so much of my sympathy/empathy/attention has been devoted to the range of powerful and magnificent male characters in this epic, that the women truly have rarely featured. If at all, the lowest lows in the tales of the female characters have inspired in me some sense of clinically stoic response - like the fact that their own preceding karma somehow leads them up to the climaxes is enough to justify and sympathy rarely features.
Reading this version has inspired in me the other way of seeing things. I'm not particularly sympathetic towards any of the female characters now, more than before - but I see so much more and better layering to them and their making then simply foolhardy words or acts that go a long way. Suddenly they are more human and kin like to connect with - the kind of protagonists, antagonists, side characters that you can forgive not in dismissal, but because the errors are ways of humans!
And I thought that was splendid about the book. The way it made me feel about the epic in newer ways. I could actually find myself putting some of my fave male characters in contention not over the usually raised arguments, but in slighter, more trivial seeming aspects. Where you don't just glorify warriors and saints for abiding by their birth assigned karma - and chide them in half sympathy in their moments of blunder (heck I've always had at least half a heart invested in the main bad guys like Duryodhan even, in preference over any of the "good girls"!) but where the characteristic level of judgments too can be passed on them!
That's my take anyway. I was duly and truly impressed. I can completely understand the book receiving alternating more firmly black or white reactions - but I say extremes form better reviews than neutrality, even if the wrong extremes And I do think everyone should give it a shot. Unless the faux-romance (As you very aptly tag it Lola!) disturbs you at a fundamental level in contradicting some beliefs, I say it's not contrived, and it's certainly not wannabe! If I was honest, being herald as the USP of the book, it deserves the spot, and for me entirely worked There were additional nuances about the story already told that explained things I've wondered about for years, at least subconsciously if not knowingly. Like why did seeing the series often left an impression that Arjun never truly was in love with Draupadi. For all his deserved credit and fame - he was very much a mortal, with just as many human loopholes, and to me the making of a pair like Arjun and Draupadi felt like a combination of powerful personalities that should really match up - and yet, I never really felt for them as a couple. And I think somewhere I put it down to her being married to all five after all - an obvious explanation as I think of it in hindsight, and not so far from the truth perhaps - yet, I loved the way it got explained in the book. And take away Karna, take away the fictional fatal attraction, but just look at the making of Arjun and Draupadi and their marriage and the unusual arrangements around it from the way she builds it up and leads to it - and there's more empathy!
Sorry I kinda REALLY got carried away, lol! But that's why I came hunting a place to post in the first place - so I could really spam and gush/rant over this topic!
ps: Lola - oh sure thing, you can totally convert it. Do you want me to alter settings of my opening message/title? Let me know what and how?