Viju's Reviews > Arjun: Without a Doubt

Arjun by Shinde Sweety
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bookshelves: read-in-2015, review-books, reviewed-in-2015

(The author Sweety Shinde provided me with a review copy.)

When Dr. Sweety Shinde, the author of Arjun: Without A Doubt, mentioned to me about the book on Mahabharata centred around Arjun that she was coming out with, I was majorly skeptical of the choice of the title character, especially considering that I do not consider Arjuna as the most exciting character in the epic. This was also further attested by the fact that a book on Arjuna that I had read earlier showed him in too plain a light. And I was happy to be proven wrong on two accounts. One, a book on Arjuna can be written. Two, Arjuna is definitely not the non-exciting character that I made him out to be with all the various interpretations of Mahabharata that I have read so far.

My love for Mahabharata is very well-evident from the number of interpretations of Mahabharata I have in my book collection. I have managed to locate ‘most’ of them and gotten to lay hands on at least half of them. So when the author sent me this review copy of this book, I was more than happy to read it and add it to my collection.

A lot of the happenings in the book is something that is known to everyone who has read one form of Mahabharata or the other. The main distinguishing factor of this book from the other books is that, yes, it does have Arjun as the title character, but it also has a novel way of moving the narrative with two narrators. Arjun along with Draupadi are the two narrators and this choice of narrators is something that I would definitely like to commend Sweety for. With a lot of focus thrown on just the two of them, who seem centric to the epic, Sweety manages to retell the happenings of Mahabharata with great ease. There is not much focus on any of the characters apart from Krishna (and Kunti, in the very end) and each of the characters are uses as plot elements very effectively.

Sweet manages to give a voice to Arjun, something that I haven’t seen in other works and ensures that he is shown as a human being prone to jealousy among other flaws. He sure is the wonderful warrior and Casanova, but Sweety manages to portray him in much better light that what he is usually shown. Draupadi! Where do I even begin. The author’s love for Draupadi’s character, which is very well evident in the post-script notes she makes at the end of the book, manages to show Draupadi as mostly never shown before. What helped was the fact that she got her own voice, much like in Palace of Illusions, except that her voice in this was stronger and louder. She is shown as this woman who craves for the attention of the warrior who won her and makes not effort to hide her disgust/unhappiness when she was forced to share husbands all life.

Sweety’s narrative, as mentioned earlier, is very effective with the usage of two narrators and there’s seldom any redundancy in terms of the narration between the two characters. This is of great benefit to the reader, since this makes it a fast-paced read which is well within 300 pages. In terms of writing, Sweety definitely has her language prowess among her strengths.

Sweety also manages to squeeze in a 20 pages analysis of the epic, much like in Yuganta, and this makes me curious to see what Sweety’s next book is going to be like. I would love to see her write a piece of fiction with characters she has developed and see how she gives life to them.

Arjun: Without A Doubt, without a doubt, is a read that Mahabharata fans to undertake.

(Feb 22 2015)
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 22, 2015 – Shelved

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