Book Review of Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane

Review by Vipul Murarka

The entire book “Lanka’s Princess” can be summed up in this apt saying by Confucius “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves”.

Lanka’s Princess is a mythological fiction of Meenakshi or Surpanakha as we know the wicked Ravan’s sister whose nose and ears were sliced off by Lakshman. While most of us may just be aware of this part of Surpanakha’s life, author Kavita Kane has made this character central to her book and the entire book revolved around her.

Fictional retelling of mythology is a path that needs to be carefully tread (although many authors these days are joyously exploring this new genre) as if it goes wrong, the author can fall prey to clichés or making the story confusing if the research is not properly done. I believe it was an even more challenging a task for Kane because she chose to retell the story of one of the least known, most dreaded characters of Ramayana – Surpanakha. But Kane came out on the right side and has written a wonderful piece of fiction that is fast, crisp and a page turner.

The story is about Meenakshi (or Surpanakha) who is born in an asura family and is the only sister of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Vibhishan. As a child, she is always neglected by her mother who is extremely fond of Ravana and the seed of jealousy in Meenakshi’s heard is sown right in childhood towards Ravana.

The book makes one aware of the several issues a woman used to face (maybe still faces to some extent today) and how if she decides to take a revenge, she can bring the whole family down. In fact that is one key takeaway from the book; “Oh Darling! You cant fix yourself by breaking someone else.” It was the revenge that Meenakshi wanted to take against her brother Ravan and that destroyed the entire Lanka.

The narrative is very fluid and captivating. Lanka’s Princess is an enjoyable read. The characters are very well described and in sync with something that you would imagine from your previous knowledge of Ramayana. The vocabulary is of high standard and one may need dictionary in hand while reading the book.

I wont say a must read but those who like mythological fiction as a genre and wish to read a simple, quick book, this one is for you.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

About the reviewer :

Vipul Murarka likes to learn something new every time he picks up a book. He has done BSc (Hons) in Plant Biotechnology from University of Nottingham after which he has done MBA in Marketing from School Of Inspired Leadership. Right now he resides in Myanmar doing business in agriculture.

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    The one thing that sets aside this book from the author’s other books is that while she wrote about those women in a pleasant, non judgemental manner, her disdain for Surphanakai and Asuras in general is obvious in this book.


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