Ahalya (Sati series book 1)
Author: Koral Dasgupta
Genre: Mythological fiction
Pages: 216 pages
Publisher: Panmacmillan India
Publication Date: 21 August, 2020
Synopsis of Ahalya as written on the back of the book
It is known that Ahalya was cursed by her husband, Gautam, for indulging in a physical relationship with Indra. But is there another story to Ahalya’s truth? Who was Indra anyway? A king? A lover? A philanderer? The first book of the Sati series, Ahalya hinges on these core questions, narrating the course of her life, from innocence to infidelity.
In the Sati series, Koral Dasgupta explores the lives of the Pancha Kanyas from Indian mythology, all of whom had partners other than their husbands and yet are revered as the most enlightened women, whose purity of mind precedes over the purity of body. The five books of the Sati series reinvent these women and their men, in the modern context with a feminist consciousness.
My thoughts on Ahalya
I learned about Ahalya in The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divyakaruni. She was known to have cheated on her husband Gautam with Indra. She was cursed and turned into a stone for her extramarital affair. Many years later, Lord Rama came her rescue and resuscitated her.
I picked this book up because I was fascinated by her character. She was known for her infidelity but I was sure there was more than just that, and this book provided just that – Ahalya story from her POV.
‘Ahalya’ is the first book in the Sati series. This story starts from the time when Brahma himself designed and made Ahalya, his finest creation. She is then given to Gautam who is a sage sworn to celibacy.
The best thing I liked about this book was the writing. It was beautifully written in my opinion where every paragraph felt poetic. The author described everything so eloquently.
As for the plot, this is a short book with a straightforward beginning and ending. This book made me angry, not gonna lie. I honestly thought somehow this would be a loving love story between the vibrant Ahalya and grumpy Gautam. He did not care at all for her when she first came to him. But after they got married, he was even warming up to her gradually. But no. Blame everything on the woman! You catch feelings? Blame it on the woman and curse her! The ending of this book made me so angry. I really disliked Gautam for everything he did to her.
Overall, I really liked this book. I appreciate the author giving a voice Ahalya who has been misunderstood. A must read if you are a mythological fiction fan!
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Thank you for reading this review! Have you checked out my review for The Heart Principle yet?