**I changed the name of my book reviewing series from the previously titled ‘Good Wee Reads’. It was a half decent idea until I realised that the biggest online review source was infact ‘Good Reads’. Schoolboy error, but at least that’s out the way.**
”The Ramayana is one of the great epics of the ancient world, with versions spanning the cultures, religions and languages of Asia. Its story of Rama’s quest to recover his wife Sita from her abduction by Raavana, the Lord of the Underworld, has enchanted readers and audiences across the Eastern world for thousands of years.”
I took a wander around Waterstones a few weeks ago, only to come across this book while browsing. I seem to enjoy reading stories with a religious or spiritual influence. It’s not that I’m religious. I’m open to all ideas. And the stories which are told throughout different creeds around the world generally (in my humble opinion) make for a good read. Let’s be honest, The Bible is class. There are great discussions regarding who wrote it in the first place. Many say Moses wrote the Old Testament and Paul the Apostle wrote the New Testament. This hasn’t been confirmed. But whoever it was.. I applaud them. For if the Bible was claimed to be another Fiction epic like Lord of The Rings or Harry Potter it would easily become a Cinema Classic. They’d probably make about nine blockbusters out of it then follow it up with spinoffs.
So aye. They do make for good reading, the old religious tales, and Ramayana is no different. It’s one of two old Indian classics (the other being Mahābhārata, cheers copy and paste) and has been passed down through the centuries. Retold and revisited time and time again, the stories have been shared across the Asian continent. The author Daljit Nagra takes inspiration from the Punjabi version he learned from his family and combines it with a wide scope of other versions (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal and Laos amongst others) and brings the story to life in a modern, inclusive and far-reaching manner.
It’s a pretty mad book and the storyline is imaginative to say the least. It’s a bit like an Indian Game of Thrones to be honest. Rama is the hero. He’s the typical ‘Prince Charming’ kind of guy, good at everything and gets all the attention. An absolute stallion. The word Rama means peace in Sanskrit, the Indian language. Him and his brother leave home on a journey and face all sorts of trials and tribulations. But they find themselves in trouble when Rama’s missus is taken by the Lord of the Underworld, Ravana. Epic battles and fights to the death are all included in Rama’s quest to get his burd back. And there’s even an army of courageous monkeys to seal the deal.
All in all it’s a pretty fun book even if it isn’t what you would usually read. Nagra’s writing style is also somewhat odd with the use of different fonts and strange layouts but it all contributes to the buzz of the book. So immerse yourself in an old Indian tale and take an insight into the ancient culture and tradition of the world’s seventh largest country. It’s very easy to see how a story like this could become so popular and celebrated among literally billions of people across Asia. And now Mr. Nagra has opened this Homeric adventure tale to wee guys like me, in council estates in the West of Scotland.
Here’s a short video of the author giving an insight into the book…
RAMAYANA by Daljit Nagra. Published by Faber & Faber. Click Here to Buy Your Copy.
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