Author: Namita Gokhale
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Archana Mirjakar
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780144000883
This book is a Marathi translation of a famous English original of a well-known fiction writer.
On the ghats of Kashi, a sightless priest directs a young woman to come to terms with an earlier life that binds her in the eternal cycle of death and rebirth. In the life she recalls, she was Shakuntala—spirited, imaginative and adventurous, but destined, like her legendary namesake, to suffer ‘the samskaras of abandonment.’
The first time Shakuntala runs away from home, she finds refuge in a cave with a woman who introduces her to the mysteries and powers of the mother-goddess. ‘Remember,’ she is told, ‘that in every one of her forms the goddess is always Swamini, mistress of herself.’ It is a valuable lesson, Shakuntala discovers, as she navigates the startling twists her life takes.
Driven by suspicion and jealousy when her husband brings back a handmaiden from his travels, she assumes the identity of Yaduri, the fallen woman, and deserts home and duty for the company of a Greek traveller she meets by the Ganga. They journey together to Kashi, and there Shakuntala surrenders to a world of pleasures, revelling in the complete freedom from rules and bonds that she has always desired. But restlessness soon compels her to forsake this world as well . . .
Original and heart-rending, Shakuntala enthralls in its vivid portrayal of the tragic life of a woman whose desire to live on her own terms is thwarted at every turn by circumstance and the age in which she lives. Namita Gokhale combines her extraordinary gift for storytelling with history, religion and philosophy to craft a timeless tale that transcends its ancient setting.
"Namita Gokhale writes grippingly about death, love and lust."
--- Khushwant Singh
"The best writers live in the real world of fiction. Namita Gokhale seems to have moved in a long time ago."
--- India Today
"[Namita Gokhale’s] style is subtle, controlled and honed to a purpose."
--- Hindustan Times
"Namita Gokhale excels in extolling the erotic and the exotic. Her fiction is wide-ranging and experimental . . . Her characters are haunting."
--- The Hindu
"… hauntingly beautiful… a gorgeously touchy-feely tale that will bring back memories of the feminist 1960s and the fervour of mystic India."
--- India Today
"Original and heart-rending, Shakuntala enthralls in its vivid portrayal of tragic life of a woman whose desire to live life on her own terms is thwarted at every turn by circumstances and the age in which she lives."
--- Afternoon Despatch and Courier
" … an engrossing diary of any and every woman in search of her identity in a man’s world."
--- Times of India
"Gokhale’s style is richly sensuous and has a distinct flow and poise."
--- The Telegraph