The Thirteenth Day by Aditya Iyengar – a book review


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Publisher Rupa Publications India
ISBN-10 8129134756
Number of Pages 260 Pages
Publication Year 2015 June
Language English
ISBN-13 9788129134752
Binding Paperback

Mahabharatha – the epic unparalled has be retold umpteen number of times and we have this coming up by authors who give it a perspective that’s new and sometimes create a story in a story. Here Aditya in his foreword very clearly says its an attempt to see a modern era description that was set in the Mahabharatha days. May be this war happened and it still is happening in a different way.

The Kurukshetra war was going nowhere, and the reason was both sides were doing well for themselves. The story opens on 10th day when Bhishma is laid to a bed of arrows by his favourite grandson Arjuna with Shikandi propping up as a shield in front.

This narrative is by three characters, Yudhishtra, Radheya – Karna as we know and Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna. Aditya weaves a wonderful narration taking us through the minds of Yudhishtra, Radheya and Abhimanyu. A stark contrast in terms of their mental makeup and how they look at the war from their positions makes for an interesting read.

A fast paced story of the three days at war that actually changes the course of the result makes for a nice gripping read. The authors authority on the subject comes through the descriptions of the war field the people and the special ways they have been celebrated.

The author shows a mirror in terms of the characters trying to assert themselves even in the face of immoral and ambitious search for glory. Sometimes as they say its not the means but the end. Goaded by that there is a lot of unethical war room strategies and execution that are there, like the way Abhimanyu is killed by everyone you can think of on the Kaurava side.

The best is how the mental make up of all the three characters show up in times of crisis and how they react to the same situation and well everyone had an agenda of their own as much as we do it today.

A nice read and well presented with first person account makes it easy to go with the flow. At times you are in the battle field, at the council hall meetings and walking alongside the characters. Loved the simple and effective prose which actually makes you feel like you are being with the characters.

A classic retelling without losing the charm of the characters, riding with their ambitions, anxieties, fear and sometimes with a hope for the war to be over. Things could have gone either way and this 13th day sets the course for the next 5 days when the war is completed. If you are fond of mythology and its retelling, you will need to read this book.

Buy the book here on Flipkart http://www.flipkart.com/thirteenth-day-story-kurukshetra-war-english/p/itme7cenauf5zxg3?pid=9788129134752

Senthil