THE FOREST OF ENCHANTMENTS by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

( December 12, 2018, India , Sri Lanka Guardian)

The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a
tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version.

The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of
some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the
margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal,
infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in
a world that privileges men, as Chitra transforms an ancient story into a
gripping, contemporary battle of wills. While the Ramayana resonates even
today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the
novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights
in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’

A moving meditation on love in its many forms, The Forest of
Enchantments proves once again why Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni remains an
unparalleled storyteller.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning and
bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Her work has been
published widely, in magazines and anthologies, and her books have been
translated into twenty-nine languages. Several of her works have been made into
films and plays.

Praise for the book:

‘One of the most strikingly lyrical voices writing about the
lives of Indian women.’ —AMITAV GHOSH

‘Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni turns the Ramayana around by
telling it in the voice of Sita … this inversion is a gift—it presents us with
a way to know an already well-known story better and to love an already beloved
story more.’ —ARSHIA SATTAR

‘This inspired evocation of the goddess Sita is an epic song
of strength and solidarity told with joy and intensity. It brings to life the
personalities and predicaments of the Ramayana.’ —NAMITA GOKHALE

‘Among the many, many Ramayanas, there are now even—thankfully—some
“Sitayanas”, but I know of none with the special magic that Chitra Divakaruni …
brings to the telling.’ —PHILIP LUTGENDORF

‘Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Sita … is an epitome of
courage and self-respect, showing a path for all women. While weaving a
familiar story, Chitra provides deep and surprising insights.’ —VOLGA

‘An incomparable storyteller.’ —THE DENVER POST

‘Divakaruni’s stories are irresistible.’ —THE NEW YORK TIMES

‘Divakaruni’s storytelling talents put her right up there
with the best.’ —MIAMI HERALD


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