Book Review: Arjuna


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Arjuna is the immortal tale of one of Indias greatest heroes. These pages retell in riveting detail the story of the Pandava Warrior-Prince who has captured the imagination of millions across centuries. This is the intense and human story of his loves, friendship, ambitions, weaknesses and follies, as well as his untimely death and revival, his stint as a eunuch, and the innermost reaches of his thoughts. Told in a refreshingly modern and humourous style and set against the staggering backdrop of the Mahabharata. Arjunas story appeals equally to the average, discerning reader and the scholar. It spans the epic journey from before his birth, when omens foretold his greatness, across the fabled, wondrous landscape that was his life.


Disclaimer: I do always refer to the names of Indian characters without the suffix ‘a’. It is and will be Arjun for me, not Arjuna. 

Mythology has always been the Achilles’ Heel for me. I have been trying to comprehend the epics since childhood through bland text books and the legendary television serials, especially Mahabharat. It has been mostly futile, though. As if Valmiki and Ved Vyas had conspired eons ago to confuse me with their magnanimous works. It is because of this confusion that I still pick up mythological books, to test myself.

Anuja Chandramouli, the author of this book had asked me very graciously to read and review it for her. I’d be lying if I said that I started reading without expectations. I had presumed the book would be unusual, perhaps presenting Arjun in a different light, assess him from a different angle, or even let him speak out his life to the mere mortals ages later. Alas, I was disappointed. The book is an abridged Mahabharat in English with interesting trivia and anecdotes, which are often left out in the popular versions of the epic. It is not fiction, in my opinion. Anuja has been true to the original text, the stories, the characters, their circumstances. The figments of her imagination are much less in quantity than what would have made it a great book.

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