Review of "Pradyumna - Son of Krishna"
This book tells many a tale, all woven into one colourful picture that left me at once intrigued and entertained. It’s like each chapter is a piece of a puzzle the author cleverly puts together. The center around which everything else revolves is Pradyumna, son of Krishna, depicted so beautifully on the cover and rarely written about in comparison to others. We first get to know him in the form of Vama, controlled by his bodily desires and laziness and fiercely protected by his a bit frantic and freakish mother Mayavati, later transforming into a much more likeable and admirable Rati. And it is this opening that sets the scene for a monumental transformation that is enlightening and encouraging to experience. Slowly, but surely, Vama the ‘weakling’ transforms into Pradyumna the warrior and someone who’s worthy of being the hero.
As mentioned above, I have no real knowledge about Indian mythology. Of course I have heard about a few of the important characters and gods, but nothing that would have helped me understand the backstory or make me able to see whether there was a lot of fiction mixed in. I do have to admit that for someone totally oblivious to the mythological world this book breathes and brings to life – especially for someone who’s less Asian-influenced and close to India than me – it would be a bit difficult to follow all the separate story lines, understand each minuscule and intricate connection and identify with common tales and themes. There are many characters, all very well fleshed out and awe-inspiring, and it can get somewhat confusing. That, however, does not take away anything from the story itself and the pleasure of sinking your teeth into the rich tapestry of it all.
What made reading such a delight was not only the great characterization and fast pace of the vividly told story but also the language and style of the author. It flows easily, effortlessly yet intelligently, and it matches the historical theme of the novel perfectly. No word seems too modern, no description too lengthy, no dialogue stilted. That is a high feat and speaks of the author’s prowess. I also got a feeling that Narayanan really loves the topic she has chosen, for it shines through in the energetic, sometimes almost loving story telling.
All in all, "Pradyumna – Son of Krishna" was a thoroughly enjoyable read that made me want to delve deeper into Indian mythology. I can highly recommend it to all who love historical fiction, fantasy and mythological tales.
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