Name of the Book: The Secret of God's Son
Author: Usha Narayanan
Rating: 5 Stars
When you get to review a book penned by an author whom you admire a lot, to read the book and review it becomes a joy. The Secret of God's Son is one such book which will not only remind you of our great heroes and how they became a hero through their trials and tribulations but will also keep you grounded and away from vanity, especially when you read about the Achilles’ heel that every hero from our past had. Such narrative not only makes you take pride in our literature but also reminds you that no one is invincible and every hero had to remember this to achieve great heights.
Ms.Narayanan’s The Secret of God’s Son introduces Pradyumna, the son of Krishna, in his pacifist avatar who eases into his destiny as the story progresses.
Along with his wife, Maya, he not only is a propagator of self-righteousness but also believes in solving most of the issues without resorting to violence. But his half-brother, Samba, who is the augmenter of the Kali yuga, would not let him live in peace.
Pradyumna might be a peace-loving man, but when it comes to protecting his family, his real persona surfaces to fight back.
Watching actors acting in the serial and painting the scene of The Mahabharata is something most of us are used to. But to paint that same scene with words is not a small feat. To some of us, what are folklore and stories becomes a way of life to many Indians. The nucleus of our culture. Many incidents in this book will tell you where certain thoughts and culture has its roots from.
Maya, in this part of the series, is not just a shadow of Pradyumna but becomes the voice of the future generations of women. Why did Sita tolerate such injustice and why did Draupadi have to bear such a heavy cross of obliterating a whole clan? Why was the responsibility of continuing a saga lying heavily on the shoulders of a woman?
Beautiful thoughts that satiated the feminist in me.
I am a lover of mythology but in all my readings and research, the influx of names that Ms. Narayanan has studded this novel with is remarkable. Incidents, where the souls of the Kurus come to visit their loved ones, will bring a lump to your throat. Ms. Narayanan made me cry over Duryodhana too. Now who would have thought that? :)
There is no doubt that a lot of research that has gone into this book. And not only research but also analysis. This book is not just a fiction of what the author thinks could have happened. Nor a make-believe world where Pradyumna, like Shiva in Amish Tripathi’s novel, is born to be a man. But questions like why Ravana was born as a nemesis of Rama and Samba of Pradyumna. Each character was following the Karma Chakra, unknown to them – they all played a role in welcoming the Kali Yuga.
Gandhari’s curse which seems so dominant in the beginning of the novel is but a small drop in the ocean of tales that this novel brings to a reader.
The Oomph Factor
As the story progresses, there were many times I raised an eyebrow thinking I can prove Ms. Narayanan wrong in her research. Ah, that’s the small game I always play with myself. Thanks to ‘google chacha’, there is nothing you cannot find on the net. Except for one. Who exactly is Pradyumna’s? Kama? Vama? Or…? I am still getting goosebumps in the analogy that Ms. Narayanan has drawn regarding this. A must read only to understand this fact.
What I liked
Maya definitely tops the list of my likes in this novel. The warrior princess. The woman who was the real ardhangini of Pradyumna. A woman on whom the future generation can look up to as a role model. How many of us can truly say that Sita or Draupadi are our role models? I have no intention of walking on the fire pit just to please my husband and ah well Draupadi .. ah well.
But Maya has that oomph factor. The fiery princess who can face any challenge. Pradyumna and Samba form the perfect good vs. evil in this part of the series. And for once, I saw Krishna as a human. A father caught between two sons. A beautiful thought. But yes, if he could have turned Samba into a lizard, many problems could have been solved.
What could have been better:
The beginning. I have to mention this here for I want readers to go past the first few pages. The first few pages have too many introductions to characters and situations. Sometimes you might feel you are on a roller coaster ride but just hang on for the first 10 pages – after that, you will not regret it. Especially with the introduction of Kali, this book becomes ‘unputdownable'.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?
A definite yes. A must read for all mythological lovers.