A Broken Sun (Book Review) by Aditya Iyengar

Book Name: A Broken Sun

Author: Aditya Iyengar

Publisher: Rupa

Rating: 3.5/5

Book Blurb: In the bloody aftermath of the thirteenth day of the Kurukshetra War, the Pandavas and Kauravas look to avenge their losses. In the Pandava army, a grief-stricken Arjuna speaks to his dead son and tries to find solace on the battlefield, even as his brother Yudhishthira tries to keep his family from falling apart. On the other side, the Kauravas, led by Guru Drona and Radheya try desperately to bring the war to an end. Their lives entwine tragically on the battlefield in a tale of loss and redemption.
Narrated through the voices of Radheya, Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Ghatotkacha and Sushasana, A Broken Sun is the second part of Iyengar’s trilogy on the Kurukshetra War and tells the story of the Mahabharata in a way that’s never been done before.

Review: The Broken Sun is a sequel to the earlier work, The Thirteenth Day and is a reimagining and retelling of the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata.

Aditya has retold the great Indian mythological work through the voices of its characters and this gives the book a humane outlook. The book focusses on the characters and their misgivings and strengths minus the sugar coating and grandeur.

Writing such a novel is always a great risk as it involves tinkering with works that are already considered great and there is very little room for error. The author has got the historic aspect right and as somebody who has read the Mahabharata umpteen times by many different authors, including the one by C. Rajagopalachari (which perhaps is the best work till date) I couldn’t find anything amiss. 

“The army looked like a crab. Two long claws which everyone called ‘pincers’ and a compact centre. Suyodhana and Guruji were leading one, and I was in the second one with Uncle Skahuni and Radheya. I told my troops to occupy the front rows and went and stood with uncle and Radheya two rows behind the front-line chariots.”

The author’s language skills are just about ordinary but perhaps this is why it may appeal to the layman who may find other translated works a bit difficult to follow. Not everyone can read the original epic, given the fact that it’s so lengthy and philosophical; so perhaps there is a need for such works. There is no better way to generate interest in classics by introducing them as abridged versions.

So, overall this book is a good effort but perhaps the author could have dabbled in liberal doses of humor. It would be foolhardy to imagine that such a great epic did not have its lighter moments- that would have added a bit of ornamentation to this otherwise well-written book.

Read this one if you wish to revisit the great Indian Mahabharata in a different vein. This won’t disappoint you.

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