Wednesday, the 17th of June, and time once again for Shelf Control! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, where you got it, and such. If you participate, link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks!
Today, I have a slightly different pick than usual, mythology and that too, a retelling–Sita (2013) by Devdutt Pattanaik. The Ramayana is of course one of India’s great epics and familiar to many–the story of the righteous Prince Rama, exiled for fourteen years by his father. While in exile, where he is accompanied by his wife Sita, and younger brother Lakshmana, Sita is abducted by Ravana, the king of Lanka. Rama, Lakshmana, and an army of vanaras (monkeys) then go and rescue her, killing Ravana. (That’s as best as I can put it in a few sentences). Sita, herself, as the book description too, points out, suffers a lot of injustice in the story, eventually being abandoned by her husband, to do ‘justice’ and for ‘honour’.
This version tells this story but from Sita’s perspective–her childhood in her father Janaka’s home, her stay in the forest with her husband while in exile, time spend in Lanka and her interactions with the women there, her connection with the earth, her mother, trees, and her role as a goddess.
I have read one full version of the Ramayana before, besides watching a couple of adaptations, and this version written and illustrated by Pattanaik interested me very much as although I have not read any books by him so far, I have seen one of his programmes on TV and liked the stories–legends and myths–how they came about, different aspects associated with them that he narrated. So the idea of the Ramayana written from a different perspective definitely interested me. So, when this was on sale on kindle, I picked it up.
The author: Devdutt Pattanaik is a mythologist, illustrator, and author; he started off as a physician who wrote articles on mythology while working in the healthcare industry and later switched to writing full time. He has written over 30 books on mythology besides also some fiction, children’s books, and quite a few of management as well.
This one sounds like it will certainly be an interesting read, and I’m looking forward to picking it up soon.
Have you read any versions of the Ramayana? Or any of the new tellings/retellings? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!