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Publisher's Summary

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!'

©2019 Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Forest of Enchantments

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mesmerising narration for an okay story

Suchitra Pillai has one of the most riveting voices and she absolutely arrests your attention for the duration of her narration. Aiding her is pretty good writing by the writer Chitra Banerjee. There are occasional uses of words that make you scurry to a dictionary, but the story is presented clearly and as beautiful as it could get.

However, there is absolutely nothing exemplary about this book. It's the exact same tale that we have been hearing about from ages, excepted that it is narrated by Sita. In the beginning, you are promised the sides of Kaikeye, Urmila and even Sunaina. However, the only single narration you hear is that of Sita and her absolutely ludicrous ideas about love. At some point, the book feels like a justification for Ram's actions and you even begin to feel irritated with Sita. Her character arc gets extremely confusing. From a girl who has been raised with absolute independence, to someone who longs to keep going back to her husband despite his (justified-in-the-story) mistreatment - it becomes difficult to conjure what is happening. It is only Suchitra Pillai's wonderful narration that keeps you trudging ahead.

To be fair, I don't think the writer could have done a lot of difference. There is a tale that is etched into every Indian's conscience since his/her childhood and the writer seems wary of even slightly challenging that. That is honestly what I was expecting.

We never knew what Sita was undergoing while Ram was preparing against Ravan or when she was banished forever, since the telling has always been from Ram's point of view. This book does touch upon it, but there isn't a substantial part of that. That is one more disappointment from this book.

I would suggest that you purchase this audio book only if you want to hear Suchitra Pillai's brilliant narration of a good writing by Chitra Banerjee, but don't expect anything different here.

4 people found this helpful

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Fabulous

loved it, the story captures all the aspects of Sita's life. really amazing. i liked

2 people found this helpful

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Different perspective to Ramayan

i have read Devedutt Patnaik Ramayan, but that had hardly anything on Sita. this one actually is dedicated to her end to end. Since it's a different perspective from Sita POV, often ignored by popular narrators. even great people have to go through their bit of hardship to attain greatness. sita embodied a lot of things into one - queen, goddess, wife, friend, mother.... and some roles are often conflicting with other. how Sita overcomes the tragedies that life put her through again and again.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved the narration rich with emotion

I am glad I heard it on Audible because the narration by Suchitra Pillai added a fascinating richness to the story.

1 person found this helpful

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just amazing experience

loved it. the experience was beyond expectations.
I use audible befor sleep and and making my sleep better every day

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  • SM
  • 01-06-21

Amazing performance

Beautifully crafted story of Sita. Although there are certain aspects Sita’s personality I don’t agree with, the author has done a commendable job in presenting Sita’s Ramayan! Thank you.

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  • Ip
  • 17-05-21

unique

Chitra Banerjee is definitely an exceptional author, I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would.
Though I would say Palace of illusion is still one of her best work, this one is a close second.

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A tale of valour, love and sorrow

I had tears in my eyes when I finished listening to the last few words of the epilogue. The powerful narration of Suchitra Pillai for the heart wrenching Sitayan by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, combine to make the fable so powerful and inspiring that one gets transported to the era of Ram Rajya. The book unfolds the deepest sorrows of Sita’s journey and surfaces them so beautifully through her untold story that it shakes you from within. The story exudes the strength of a woman and the other women who come in her path. It reveals a tender soul who was born with healing powers, endured injustice which she didn’t deserve but finally stood up to say ‘no more’ when tested time to time. It’s a miraculous book, inspiring me and jolting me from within to believe in one’s own power while staying kind. Amazing piece of literary art, symbolic of divine feminine strength!

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excellent narration

narration is awesome. I don't know whether I would feel the same if I read it myself. too bad the narrator did few books. I hope in the future I would get some more books with this narrator. "suchitra Pillai"

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Couldn't stop listening

Beautifully narrated by Ms Pillai, the story has a beautiful take on an epic tale

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-20

The women's view

I've always been sceptical about the ramayan as I felt the stories of the women were lost in the justification of the actions of the men. The good deeds of "villains" were silence to maximise the righteousness of the "heroes". I've always loved Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni as she has a unique way of retelling a story. I felt all the emotion I felt were missing perfectly portrait.

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  • May
  • 30-11-20

Epic retelling of Ramayana

I felt transported into a magical world...the characters are brought to life, their emotions human and relatable.

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  • Love audio
  • 29-10-20

The Forest of Enchantment

I would recommend this for reads of all walks of life as it has great teachings for struggles and stuffing that one endures for the greater good.

I’ve added this tittle to my favourites🥰🤗