• Asura Tale of The Vanquished

  • The Story of Ravana And His People
  • By: Anand Neelakantan
  • Narrated by: Sanket Mhatre
  • Length: 21 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-02-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: READO
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (3 ratings)

Summary

In this best-seller, Neelakantan tries to break the age old tradition where history is always narrated by the victors.
Asura: Tale of the Vanquished dares to narrate the tale of the Asura people. Blending mythology, religion, and history, the audiobook narrates the tale from Ravana and Bhadra's perspective.
The book talks about how the Asura community is more liberal than the orthodox Deva clan, which was highly biased. It also attacks the evil practices of the Brahmin caste.
From the tale of Mahabali, Vamana, and Sita's Agni-Pareeksha, to Jatayu's meeting with Ravana, the author reveals the many human emotions behind these stories and logically presents a new perspective for the listeners.
How wrong was Ravana to challenge the mighty gods for his daughter's sake? Was he evil for deciding to lead life in his own terms? Was he wrong for freeing the people from the caste-cased Deva reign? The author takes the listeners on an enthralling journey and poses many such complex questions. Bhadra is a creative character who gives voice to the common man, who is lost amidst the villains and heroes.
The author has been appreciated for his eye for detail, which gives life to his work. The right blend of good language and interesting twists keeps the audiobook engaging.
©2012 Anand Neelakantan (P)2015 READO
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 16-04-18

a seasoned book ..

very remarkable. truly inspiring. narration is very good ..well done.
the book of a lifetime.

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2 out of 5 stars
By Jlongtorso on 10-04-18

Needs a rewrite

The idea of the Ramayana from the putative villain's point of view was fascinating, and all the reviews were effusive. I feel misled.

This book 'reads' like a fairly competent first draft. It needs editing or a full rewrite. Characters fly into high temper without proportionate provocation. They beat their chests and announce how they feel rather than demonstrate their emotions. Poorly-chosen words spoil effects. There are climaxes with no buildup, changes of heart out of nowhere. Listening rapidly became a chore.

Having Ravana champion a system based on merit while disparaging the emerging caste divisions seemed like an excellent revisionist device. The discussion of the 'heads' of Ravana was a fine answer to the problem of making the demon king an ordinary man. The idea of calling ancient foes asuras fits well with the theme of demonizing one's enemies. But the novel is a shapeless and unsatisfying mess.

It may be suggested that, as an American, I lack the cultural grounding necessary to appreciate this book. But a work of art must succeed or fail on its own merit. If I have to know Henry James's biography to understand 'The Turn of the Screw,' the book has failed.

Contrast 'Asura' with Robert Graves's 'I, Claudius,' for instance. One can read 'I Claudius' with pleasure and understanding without knowing about ancient Rome.

I regret that 'Asura' is a great might-have-been, and that's too bad. I was looking forward to listening to it. I will avoid this author in future.

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