Price: INR 250
The great epic, Mahabharata is India’s greatest pride (and most rightly so). Its mammoth story covers everything under the sun and offers advice for every situation. With its innumerable (literally) characters, it is not shocking that Anuja Chandramouli chose Arjuna to be the central character of her book Arjuna: the saga of the Pandava warrior-prince. He is after all, the ideal man or rather every woman’s ideal man: strong, handsome, vain, noble…
The book is simply a re-telling of the Mahabharata with all events surrounding Arjuna, the third Pandava prince. The book starts at his birth and goes on till his death. It details all the important and not-so important events of his life: his stint as an eunuch, his exile, his long-lasting enmity with Karna, his reverence for his brother Yudhisthira, his love for Draupadi and most importantly, his friendship with Krishna. Each event is given great importance and the book is a typical narration of the Mahabharata, with no mixing up of facts.
The language of the book is simple and does not draw away from the story. The book focuses on Arjuna and is well researched. There is not much that can be said for the story as it is indeed Ved Vyasa’s and great to start with. The most endearing part of the book is that it strips Arjuna down to a mere mortal and shows us his perfections and flaws. It tells us that everyone is good and bad, with special reference to Arjuna. But then, any Indian knows that is one of the greatest lessons of the Mahabharata. Every now and then, another character takes the stage. But that is unavoidable in a story like the Mahabharata, where everything is linked.
The book, though has flaws in its narration, it is written in a haphazard way. Often, stories aren’t in order and only a person who has already read the Mahabharata will find the book easy to understand. It may seem dry as it does no more than just re-tell the narration with a change in protagonist. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table. And in the end, it isn’t even a book from Arjuna’s perspective, as I hoped it would be, but simply a retelling with Arjuna at the crux of the story.
This book may engross one who has never read the Mahabharata, but for anyone who has, I would not recommend it.
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