The forest of enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni review.

I unplugged the inkpot and was startled to see the color the sage had chosen for me. Red. But of course. How else could I write my story except in the color of menstruation and childbirth, the color of the marriage mark that changes women’s lives, the color of the Ashoka tree under which I had spent my years of captivity in the palace of the demon king?

I still don’t know how I feel about this book. I have mixed emotions about it. Read on to know my thoughts and also read my review:

The prologue starts with Sage Valmiki handing over his finished ‘Ramayan’ to Sita and we read she is not happy with the story. She is angered by the story and says the story has nothing of her despair, her emotions while she was in the demon king’s palace and her later life in Ayodhya. She begins to write ‘Sitayan’.

The book begins with powerful chapters in which Sita takes us to the time she was found by King Janak and how she grew up with whispers all around of her being a divine being.

However I had minor issues with the writing and the uneven style of story telling. The writing is very lyrical, but the story appears disjointed in some parts. The expressions and the imagery used are endearing and I loved it. I loved how Sita’s forgiving and loving nature was written with glory. I have always felt like giving Sita a hug whenever I had heard Ramayan since my childhood.

The book feels lengthy at some parts but the writing makes up for it. I had heard from my grandmother’s stories that Sita might be Ravan’s daughter and it was prophecied that she may be the reason for his death. This book gives a teeny tiny hint for that possibility to be true.

Also, the retelling felt a little contradictory to me with respect to the stories I had read/heard since childhood. We see Ram through Sita’s eyes, the human being and Sita making him feel complete.

I felt that Sita’s relationship with her family members could have been written about more. It felt incomplete to me.

It just felt like another Ramayan with just a little bit of Sita in it. I couldn’t help but compare it with The palace of Illusions. I really wished Sita had a more powerful voice like Panchali’s.

3/5

Thank you Harper Collins India for the review copy. Picture and opinions are my own.

You can get a copy for yourself here.

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