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The Forest of Enchantments

Narrated by: Suchitra Pillai
Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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    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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • LL
  • 05-05-20

Struggled to finish this book.

After reading palace of illusions by the same author I was expecting much more depth. I literally fast forwarded through chapters. The writing is bland, the description child like and simplistic introspective emotions are expressed.
The narrators tone is expressive but the voice simply does not suit Sita the protagonist. it's is too deep and gruff.

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See things differently when a woman tells a story

Loved the narration and the story has stolen my heart. I think I understand why the writer was overwhelmed to write this book. This story has so many layers under the main character.
Like many others, this book has a special place in my heart now.

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Fabulous!!

I totally loved the narration and the story both. Having watched Ramayan on T.V. just days back during the lockdown, the book by all means surpasses the tele-series in very clearly bringing to light the strength as well as the weaknesses of the characters Sita included. The flow of the book is beautiful and Suchitra Pillai does so much justice to it through her impeccable narration.

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Excellent read

A beautiful version of Ramayana...the characters so dignified ...each one of them ..particularly Sita..narration by Suchitra was very soulful and loved hearing her narrate👌👌

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Wonderful writing

Wonderful narration. I thoroughly enjoyed and loved the way Suchitra madam recites the story from sitas point of view🙂

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misses few words/seconds on bluetooth

misses a second on bluetooth devices randomly makes the experience kinda irritating quite often .

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Exceptional Narration!

Suchitra Pillai's Narration, her voice, command over the language and expressing emotions in the right places. Wow!! So impressed and floored by her talent.

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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.