We reviewed ‘Karna’s Wife‘ by Kavita Kane, and we loved it.
Q. First off, congratulations on your best-selling novel. What prompted you to write this novel?
Two characters of the Mahabharata truly intrigued me – one was Bhishma and the other Karna. And in the epic we either see him as Arjun’s rival or as Duryodhan’s friend. Rarely as the family man – as the son, the husband, the father, the brother. Radha was always his mother: he did not leave her even when he was told the truth of his birth by Krishna and Kunti. Loyal as a friend, loyal as a son till the end. And the moot point was with what moral courage did Karna face his wife after the vastraharan of Draupadi in which he did happen to play a dubious part. And this started off the idea to write the novel.
Q. Why did you choose mythological fiction as your genre?
Myth I believe is ancient fiction. And this genre conveys the underlying persistent tension between the fantastic and the real, the winner and the loser, hope and despair, between magic and the mortal and of course the perennial war between good and evil.
Q. What was the hardest and favorite part of writing for you?
The favourite part was creating a character like Uruvi who works as Karna’s conscience. The hardest part was Karna himself. He is one of the most adored, respected and tragic characters in Indian mythology whom all love as the doomed and the damned. Yet there so was so much more to him – and it was darkening those shades of grey or blanching the whites that was a challenge. Like was done with Kunti, Gandhari and Duryodhan as well.
Q. Why did you choose the dynamic character of Uruvi? How do you contrast her character with Draupadi?
I had initially contemplated making Vrushali – Karna’s first wife as the protagonist but realised she was limiting in the scope of the character I had envisaged as Karna’s wife. Uruvi was thus created out of dramatic licence. She is fierce, righteous, outspoken yet fallible. And vulnerable. She wins and loses the man she loves and yet wins in the end, left with only her convictions. She is a foil to both Vrushali and Draupadi. Uruvi is pampered and privileged, Draupadi remains one of the most unloved woman in Mahabharata, who is more associated with hate and revenge and fury than the softer emotions which she was not allowed to indulge in. Vrushali is wise and accepting and Uruvi is a fighter but both are battling with the same problem, the same war.
Q. How has your journey been as a writer?
I am a journalist so I have been writing since long. Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen was my first attempt as a creative writer. And fortunately a successful well -received one which made me brave enough to attempt a second novel!
Q. Who are your favorite authors? How have they influenced you to be a writer, if at all?
I don’t have a favourite author- that would be too unfair on me as well as them! All of them have influenced me in their own way – big or small or indifferent – and each one had an individual charm which drew me back to them over and over again.
Q. The character sketches in the novel are quite contrasting to the normal age-old beliefs (character sketch of Karna, for instance). Any particular reason?
As I mentioned earlier, most of the characters in the epics are either white or black. Bringing out the greys in them was made it so interesting. Yet they had to be believable and consistent with their character, personality and argument. The facade was there: the underlying layers were deep. And unfathomable. I wanted to peek there.
Q. What can we expect from your next work?
My next novel is based on the Ramayana this time and is called Sita’s Sister, about Urmila, Lakshman’s wife. Or rather it is about these four sisters who married the four princes of Ayodhya…and I won’t say more! It should be out by September.
Q. What do you feel about the impact of English fiction on the youth of today?
English fiction was always very dominant but if you are talking about Indian English fiction, it is slowly growing and is gaining larger acceptance – certainly more than say two decades ago.
Q.What is your advice to aspiring writers?
If it’s fiction, tell a good story – and tell it well.
If you find the book interesting, buy from Amazon or Flipkart here: