Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Menaka's Choice” as Want to Read:
Menaka's Choice
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Menaka's Choice

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  915 ratings  ·  77 reviews
We make love and leave. That is our motto. Live by it, Menaka or you shall suffer untold, unnecessary grief.

Born during the churning of the ocean, Menaka is the most beautiful of all the apsaras in the world, with quick intelligence and innate talent. However, she craves for the one thing she can never have - family. Elsewhere, after severe austerities, a man, now blessed
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 20th 2015 by Rupa Publications
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Menaka's Choice, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sujata Das Gupta I guess the answer to that question would also have its shades. It cannot be a complete positive or a negative. Then again, the portrayals of these…moreI guess the answer to that question would also have its shades. It cannot be a complete positive or a negative. Then again, the portrayals of these two characters vary depending on the source and perspective.

If we only take your book into account, Menaka and Vishwamitra are characters whom you cannot be indifferent to. You feel for them, you are impressed by them (their will and mental energy in particular). They can also turn you off in certain instances. But if a character makes you "feel" you cannot "not" like them. So, yes, they are 'likeable,' at least in parts. Menaka more so. Vishwamitra is more impressive than likeable. He is rather larger than life (even in his negative excesses), and 'like' seems a too tame emotion when applied to him. (less)
Rashmi Agrawal justbooks is a good library for books collection, you can get from there

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  915 ratings  ·  77 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Apsaras, the celestial nymphs, are always overshadowed in the mythology by near-perfect leads. In the over all sketch of any tale, they're always reduced to mere seductresses whose beauty leads to destruction and ruin. Kavita Kane successfully brings forth the muted tale of Celestial Menaka, whose life is deeply entwined with that of great rishi Vishwamitra, the first and last man she seduced. :)
The first part of this book discusses the rebellious Menaka and her passionate yet ridiculed relation
Shoma Abhyankar
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
With her stories mostly having mythological women as her subjects, Kavita Kane has done it again....taken one less significant character from the larger than life mythological stories and woven a delicate story bringing the character centre-stage.
Menaka, according to stories, was just one of the most beautiful 'Apsara' a pawn in Indra's scheme, sent from heaven to disturb Rishi Vishwamitra’s penance and prevent him from becoming more powerful than the devas in heaven.
But author Kavita Kane has
Sheetal Maurya - Godse (Halo of Books)
Edit: Author Interview Interview of Kavita Kane, The author of 'Karna's wife'

Read this book to know about the celestial beauty, Apsara, and her controversial love story.

Read the full book review on my blog Menaka's Choice by Kavita Kane - Book review

Saraswathi Sambasivan
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kavita Kane outdid herself!! Having read her book Karna's wife, I had huge expectations from this one. And I was not disappointed. I loved the book to bits..actually thinking of reading it once again!
What I love about Kavita's books is that the protagonist is very human, someone we can all relate to. Menaka's Choice is about Menaka, the apsara. The title was intriguing as apsaras- the celestial beauties are normally not given a second thought. They are beautiful nymphs who just come to distract
Mar 18, 2016 added it
‘Apsara’ generally subsisting at the periphery of literature, quite often depicted for the consumption of a voyeur; thus ends up being an object of sexual gratification rather than a living, flesh and blood character. Britannica’s description of ‘Apsara’ tersely sums up their prevailing representation in the works of literature, “Originally water nymphs, the apsaras provide sensual pleasure for both gods and men.” Given the context, Kavita Kane’s choice of a protagonist in her latest work, ‘Mena ...more
Vikas Datta
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Superb tale of celestial manifestations and human frailties and resolve... brings into focus a class of divine (in all senses) beings who have been hitherto confined to it or side roles in fiction.
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book deals with aspects of Hindu mythology that I have not heard of before, and the author's efforts in humanising these characters and giving them agency - particularly Menaka, who is used as a pawn by Indra but subverts his will time and again - are truly commendable.
But it's hard to enjoy a book where the editing is subpar - where "inhuman" is left as "in human", and "it's" is left where "its" should be used - and where there is more telling than showing. There are simply too many instanc
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There are some relationships which are beyond judgement....some which do not have a beginning or an end....some circumstances not really under our control....but the love people share in this relationship is far more eternal and cannot be described in words. Menaka's choice is just that story which makes you love such unexplainable thoughts and feelings. I wish I had more words to describe what I felt about this book but I was speechless inside and out....Kavita, you have made one more book to t ...more
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After reading Kane's books...i think i am falling in love with Hindu mythology.
Though she is employing fiction and has improvised to fill gaps, yet i can't deny that it moved me. Engaging and true to its core Menaka's story is exceptional!
Sahil Pradhan
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myth, favorites
"I am not a whore, Indra. I am not a woman available for everyone and who can be used for everyone to be lured and thrown out of your path if you find him as a trouble."
these lines truly are what the book is all about..... Menaka's choice is truly a great read for all the feminists, mythology lovers and romance lovers. true to its title it is what Menaka chooses in her life and what consequences her choice shave on her on other beings.
the book has two parts. in the first part, you will find Mena
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
My first mythological fiction and it was such a delight. This book takes you through the story of the most beautiful apsara in Heaven and the tragic circumstances she endures. The author, while narrating what’s possibly one of the most controversial love stories in Hindu mythology, addresses the many issues and injustice faced by women in the world of men that is Heaven. Although a bit repetitive in writing, the author unfolds the story beautifully, sewing together the legends of Man and God, ca ...more
Divya Mittal
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Apsaras, the celestial beauties are never given any consideration and are only treated as mere symbols of lust and distraction but this book brings into light a new dimension to their character.

The moment I got to know about the book, I was intrigued to know more about the life of one of the most famous apsara 'Menaka' and what choices she had to make.

An unusual love story, full of emotions is written in simple English and is so engrossing that you can visualize every sequence of events happeni
Aparna Surendran
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Though Menaka is portrayed as an intelligent and brave woman than a mere seductress and majority of the book speaks in her perspective, intrestingly, the character that stood out was Vishwamitra, as a firm believer and practitioner of virtue by merit than by birth. This aspect of the book resonated more than the obvious intent of portrayal of a strong woman character. It also connects the dots in the numerous mythological stories we have heard over years, bringing to life the various characters ...more
Another story with mythological inputs from the East, to display the patriarchal motives of the society from time immemorial.
I am a huge fan of Kavita Kane's strength in portraying the tried and often misjudged characters from the pantheon of Hindu mythology in a new light. Menaka's Choice was yet another powerful, vociferous, tart, feminist take on the life, choices and decisions surrounding the tempestuous relationship between the Apsara Menaka and the Rishi Vishwamitra. However, lengthy monologues could be the weakness of this otherwise interesting read.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it liked it
It took me forever to get into this book. But when I did, I finished it in one sitting - it really is that good.
Hundred pages into the book, I thought this one was falling prey to what it was trying to fight. The apsaras, though struggling for choice, were very seldom portrayed as anything but that which had caged them to that role they were playing in the story. And the writing style had disappointed me until then.
But everything changed so drastically midway. It's almost as if it were changing
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Menaka's Choice is one of the books that will show you or teach that letting go of someone will only make you believe that its for the greater good for both people involved. She never thought she will fell in love with him. she was trying to escape from a broke heart and memory of Vasu. It was hard for her leave her infant child and more importantly leaving vishwamitra, a man she never thought she will fell in love deeply and passionately. But she was a brave woman to tell truth and ready to fac ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kavita Kané ;Menaka's Choice...... Would put it as a right choice for a Romantic at Heart ;)Within a few hours I finished reading the book , didn't realise when I reached the last page 290......the flow of the journey of Indralok engulfed me totally ..... The facinating , intoxicating portrait of the highlighted Apsara Menaka still gets me goosebumps, her ability to lure the men in her life especially the erotic romantic moments mentioned with her warrior lover King Kaushik and the flow of incid ...more
Anil Swarup
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another remarkable book by Kane. The manner in which she manages to develop and present the chief protagonists, all females so far, is quite unique. Her style of story telling is different as well and keeps you hooked. However, "Maneka" falls short of the excellence the author achieved in narrating the story of Uruvi, Karna's wife. The pathos is there but perhaps the repeated transition from heaven to the real world makes "Maneka " a trifle unrealistic. Yet the brilliance is there. Eminently rea ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
While the story is interesting and very well narrated, there is the language aspect in the book that may put you off. So many typos, missing words, missing articles, incorrect spellings, unnecessary words. Shocking. Was it just my copy? Has anyone else who has read this book, faced similar issues?
Shwetal Rai
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: indian-authors
Lesser know characters in larger than life epics intrigue me- I started reading Menaka's Choice to quell the curiosity... I've finished the book but found very little to take away from it.
Over all review: This book can be avoided
Jairam Mohan
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A strong protagonist in the form of Menaka, an even stronger muse in Vishwamitra, read this book for a heady cocktail of love, betrayal, redemption and more.

Detailed review put up at
Annapurani Vaidyanathan
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Menaka's Choice is yet another masterpiece by Kavita Kane. Brilliantly written. Has secured a permanent place in my mythology books collection.
Nammi Rao
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
It was with great excitement and expectation that I picked up this book. From the blurb, it seemed to delve into the workings of the mind and emotions of an apsara and I'd never come across such a story before. The book started off on a great premise.
Unfortunately, the book is repetitive, slow, has typos (perquisite, "other mam's aim" instead of "other man's arm"), glaring grammatical errors (I has lain), etc. The author "tells" a lot instead of "showing" and there are hardly any dialogues. Jus
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really enjoy reading about women in mythology; especially the ones that aren't so black and white. I picked this one up with high hopes but I was disappointed. The lengthy monologues and the explanations for every single action on the protagonist's part made the narrative boring. Things that could have been summarised succinctly in a sentence or two have been stretched out to cover chapters.

And at the end of all these monologues all we get is a very vague picture of Menaka as a woman. There i
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good to know about viswamitra And menaka’s story.The story of the king kaushik,who becomes the great brahmarshi,the only mortal person to achieve the rare feat ,the saga of rare odds he went through ,the perseverance,grit and determination is well depicted in this book .I always felt the boring repetitive things in certain part of the book .Didn’t particularly liked the boring description of romance between the lead characters.Apart from that it was great to know about Indra’s insecurities,Haris ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read Lanka's Princess first. Compared to that book, this one is a disappointment. Maybe because Menaka herself was not a multilayered personality. Around 2/3rd of the book is good. Rest is not. At 2/3 mark we know her choice, we know her reasons and justifications and are fully in sympathy. The book infact is over. Maybe thereafter the book could have been wrapped up faster as anyway the tale does move in leaps and bounds. Also, there were quite a few typos, maybe the editors and proofreaders ...more
Shree Basu
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Especially given that this is a female from ancient Hindu/Indian stories which is usually whitewashed as a some kind of a virginal ideal.

The language is a bit too heavy, pretty much all Indian authors can be accused of that. I think the exploration of a woman's character was done very well. One thing I have noticed in Kavita Kane's books is that the book drags a bit after the climax. I think the whole Shakuntala episode could have been done better.

Overall, a ver
Sunitha Prabhu
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Menaka’s Choice by Kavita Kane is the story of the celestial nymph Menaka and her controversial love story with Rishi Viswamitra of Hindu Mythology. It is a pleasant read and shows Menaka in shades of grey and so is Viswamitra. Indra’s palace is often compared to a brothel house. This book fails to generate and/or maintain the same interest as Kavita Kane’s Karna’s Wife or Sita’s Sister.
I liked the style of the author - the literature, tone, narrative etc. What I was not very pleased with is the long winded story telling and the unmistakable attempt for the story to be feminist. An apsara, created for pleasure, is not an ideal candidate for a feminist story,and hence long explanations for every act MenAKA does were needed which added unnecessary bulk to the book.

« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Should an edition be deleted? 3 84 Dec 07, 2015 03:20AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Vishwamitra
  • The Kaunteyas
  • Vanara- The legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara
  • Immortal India: Articles and Speeches by Amish
  • MBA at 16
  • Being Hindu: Old Faith, New World and You
  • In Exile from the Land of Snows: The Definitive Account of the Dalai Lama and Tibet Since the Chinese Conquest
  • Rising of a Dead Moon
  • Indian Maidens Bust Loose
  • The Devil and the Deadly Peace (Tales of Khaga, #1)
  • Algeria Is Beautiful Like America
  • Cuckold
  • The Heat and Dust Project: The Broke Couple's Guide to Bharat
  • Bhagavad Gita for Dummies
  • The Gita For Children (IN)
  • Chanakya in Daily Life
  • If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India
  • A Journey in Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism
See similar books…
A senior journalist with a career of over two decades, which includes working for Magna publication and DNA, she quit her job as Assistant Editor of Times of India to devote herself as a full time author. A self-styled aficionado of cinema and theatre and sufficiently armed with a post-graduate degree in English Literature and Mass Communication from the University of Pune, the only skill she know ...more
“Men have always been susceptible to a woman’s beauty: it’s their weakness and to hide it, some get aggressive.” 3 likes
“Making and faking love are entirely different. Lust is quick. Love is not. It is a more sustained, exhausting emotion even to sham!” 2 likes
More quotes…