BOOK REVIEW: LANKA’S PRINCESS AUTHOR: KAVITA KANE REVIEWED BY: DR AMIT THADHANI
Lanka’s Princess is a short, racy and extremely readable fictionalized account of the Ramayan character Surpanakha aka Meenakshi. From her childhood to her last moments, the author vividly portrays the circumstances that made Ravan and Kumbha’s little sister Meenakshi transform into a vicious, uncontrollable Surpanakha who leads Lanka to its destruction. In this book, Surpanakha comes across as a central character in the plot of the Ramayan, without whom it would simply fall apart – a strong, sensuous, loving but vindictive person, who makes those responsible for the killing of her beloved husband and son pay for it by cold-bloodedly plotting their destruction. The author skillfully narrates the Ramayan from the perspective of Surpanakha while avoiding feminist and victimhood traps and staying true to the original story. The well fleshed out characters of Lanka’s Princess reveal different aspects to their personality while in no way condoning them – for example, Ravan is a loving and protective but mean and self-centered brother and at the same time a serial rapist, murderous despotic monarch. The females in Kane’s book are strong personalities who make their own choices and shape the destiny of their families, from ambitious, scheming Kaikesi to loving, sacrificing Urmila and the sexually aggressive and manipulative Surpanakha. The plot moves along at lightning speed from the forests of Dandaka to the palaces of Lanka culminating in the final encounter with Lakshman at Ayodhya, keeping you engrossed throughout. If you’re enjoy Indic fiction or are looking for something to carry along or read on your Kindle on your next short trip, buy this book. It’s a great read.