Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Review: Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli

On the jacket:

Arjuna is the immortal tale of one of India's greatest heroes. These pages retell in riveting detail the story of the Pandava Warrior-Prince who has captured the imagination of millions across centuries. This is the intense and human story of his loves, friendship, ambitions, weaknesses and follies, as well as his untimely death and revival, his stint as a eunuch, and the innermost reaches of his thoughts. Told in a refreshingly modern and humourous style and set against the staggering backdrop of the Mahabharata. Arjunas story appeals equally to the average, discerning reader and the scholar. It spans the epic journey from before his birth, when omens foretold his greatness, across the fabled, wondrous landscape that was his life.


I am not much of a history reader but Indian mythology does interest me. Probably the early childhood influences of Ramayan and Mahabharat first being read out to me from my first illustrated book and then watching both on the telly. I received Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli yesterday afternoon. Sick and on bed rest with a running nose and mild temperature, I was not sure when I will begin reading the book. But I ended up doing almost an all-nighter with it; and by morning I had read it from cover to cover.

Arjuna is basically a retelling of the story. But frankly speaking, if this book ha d not landed on my bed side table, I wouldn't have re-read Ved Vyas's story. The book had so many revelations for me, bits that I never knew about and bit which I had forgotten. Also, Arjuna is seriously an underplayed character in the mythological tale. This book throws more light on who he really was.

Chandramouli kept the reader in me captivated. Yes, broadly the story was nothing new. But the presentation, language and the research which must have gone behind writing this book, made the book an engrossing read. 

An engrossing read, whether you remember Mahabharat, the tale or some of it is rusted in your memory, I have a feeling, you will enjoy this. Arjuna proved to be a better read than I had expected and after a long time, I finished a book in one read; and a serious read too! 

Rating: ****/5

[This review was requested by the author. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.

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