Mandodari- Queen of Lanka by Manini J Anandini

The ‘Ramayana,’ one of India’s two great epics, is in our blood. We’ve known it since we were little. So it’s always difficult to recount this storey, but it was a brave decision to start with it. However, the author made a brilliant choice in selecting the main protagonist as well as the narrator of this retelling. She chose Mandadori, who, in comparison to the other great characters in the Ramayana, is undoubtedly underappreciated. 

The best part of the book is that the author told the story of a queen in a way that made her seem more like a regular woman than a queen. She used to gossip with her sakhis, adore her parents, be envious of other women who slept with her husband, and weep when her children died. The author portrayed Mandodari as a lovely daughter, dutiful wife,a caring mother and then a queen.

The perseverance displayed by Mandodari – Queen of Lanka is explained by her enduring devotion for the Lord of the Asuras, Ravana. Despite Ravana’s numerous flaws, such as his passion for women, hubris, and, ultimately, vanity, which is the cause of his death, Mandodari sticks by his decisions, doing her best to lead and channel his many talents. The narrative then goes on to describe how a wonderful wife should act. Mandodari is frequently compared to water, “turbulent on the surface and deep in her spiritual quest,” and she is depicted in the story in this way.

From beginning to end, the author kept the storey in Mandodari’s perspective and never revealed events that we know about from the Ramayana but Mandodari did not. That’s truly one-of-a-kind. The regal set design and character development were excellent. The narration approach was straightforward but heartfelt. There are many things we don’t know about the novel. We can see Lankeswar Ravana in a whole different light. With her talent, the author brought the characters and the setting to life. She went into great detail where it was essential and kept it brief when it wasn’t, resulting in a book that is very pleasant to read and can be finished in one sitting.

The novel isn’t exactly a page-turner, and the dull monotone of a one-person narration may put off some readers, but we get to see a completely other side of Lankeswar Ravana. With her talent, the author brought the characters and the setting to life. She went into great detail where it was essential and kept it brief when it wasn’t, resulting in a book that is very pleasant to read and can be finished in one sitting. In addition, the author avoided the original Ramayana’s dramatic exaggeration and made it more realistic. Last but not the least this retelling can also be considered as a feminist milestone written by a female debut author, as it depicts the life of a woman who is full of danger and misfortunes while posing as a mythological character.

A must read!

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