The Curse of Gandhari by Aditi Banerjee is an insightful retelling of Mahabharata from Gandhari’s point of view.
Gandhari is an important woman in the Kuru dynasty, but most of the stories I have read so far haven’t described her in this level of detail. This book is a refreshing change offering deeper insights into the woman who was a princess once, and when married to the blind prince, takes a life-changing decision. She is a virtuous woman with immense power, a devoted wife and a loving mother to her children. Twice gifted the boon of carrying 100 sons, and then blamed for bearing evil children, Gandhari is a complex character indeed.
The narration starts after the great battle is over, and Gandhari is dwelling in the forest along with Dhritarashtra and Kunti. As the story progresses, we get to know the lady behind the blindfold. Alternating between the present and the past, Banerjee brings the reader closer to Gandhari. We see her unconventional strength, complex thoughts, suppressed desires, and shattered dreams. We get to understand the lesser-known aspects of her persona. The author doesn’t depict Gandhari as a vulnerable woman, but one with immense powers.
There is a complex web of relations highlighted in this rendition. Gandhari’s relationship with her father Subalu, her mother, brother Shakuni; and after marriage with Satyawati, Pandu, and the rest of the Kuru clan is well depicted. Her interactions with Kunti and Krishna are especially detailed and well written, and are my favorite parts of this story. The author has paid attention to highlight Gandhari’s penance and devotion, which made her an iconic personality.
The plot development and flow are impactful. They reflect the author’s research, imagination and her command over the narration. All throughout, Gandhari remains the center of attention, while the rest of the events happen around her. Using simple language Banerjee brings the settings and the characters alive. She doesn’t attempt to justify Gandhari’s actions, but narrates them with passion and honesty.
The cover picture is perfectly suited to the story.
I really loved reading this book, and would recommend to anyone looking for a good Mytho-fiction.
Wordsopedia rating 5/5
|Title: The Curse of Gandhari
|Author: Aditi Banerjee
|Publisher: Bloomsbury India
|Publication date: January 1st, 2019
|Genre: Fiction – Mythology
|No. of Pages: 336
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About the Author
Aditi Banerjee’s first novel, The Curse of Gandhari, was published by Bloomsbury India in September 2019. She is a practicing attorney at a Fortune 500 financial services company and has also completed an Executive MBA at Columbia University.
A prolific writer and speaker about Hinduism and the Hindu-American experience with strong social media presence and recognition. She is a member of the Indic Academy and Indic Book Club, who sponsored a successful six-city book launch tour for The Curse of Gandhari in September 2019 across India.
Get in touch with her on her website.