(4 / 5) Kaikeyi – Vaishnavi Patel
I very much enjoyed reading this retelling of Kaikeyi’s story! As someone who is not steeped in Indian and Hindu culture but rather with a passing familiarity, I appreciated the reimagining of this much maligned ‘wicked step-mother’ figure from the epic legend, Ramayana.
Patel tells a new story about Kaikeyi and one that gives her depth, motivation, and even feminist leanings that well-may be controversial for some readers. I however, thoroughly enjoyed Kaikeyi’s feminist approach to dealing with the patriarchal world around her (even if it did seem anachronistic at times). Patel utilizes a legendary and ancient character to tell a tale with very modern themes; the power of women, female companionship, and the many ways women influence and change the world everyday.
If you’re looking for a traditional Indian/Hindu take on the role and motivations of Kaikeyi, then I do not think this novel is for you as Patel certainly brings her own very modern and feminist voice to her reimagining. But, if you love to read stories about powerful and complex women and their immense influence in a world set up to keep them quiet, this is one I think you’ll enjoy.
Read on my friends!
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