Mohini: The Enchantress by Anuja Chandramouli – Book Review

Mohini: The Enchantress

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  • Source: Review Copy
  • Pages: 240
  • Publication Date: August 1st, 2020
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications
  • My Rating: 3.5/5

Mohini is the only female avatar of Vishnu, created by Vishnu and Shakti.

Before starting this book, I was aware of some stories and characters from Indian Hindu mythology but Mohini wasn’t a character I was familiar with.

The book starts on a very interesting not and it instantly captivates me. It shows the very real jealousy and competition some women have between them through mythological context. The women around Mohini ached to be like her. Free to do what they wanted. To experience what they desired. Free from every expectation and shackle that society put on them. The author also talks about how the patriarchal society puts so much value in a women’s beauty that she herself doesn’t explore other aspects of her being. This turns out to be recurring theme throughout the novel.

The book has a lot of mythological stories. It discusses the war between the asuras and devas and goes into detail about Indra.

I didn’t expect the book to address such a variety of topics. It talks about objectifying women and worshipping beauty, about divine beings and the value humans put on them. It shows the way humans turn to creating god-like figures who would help them in their troubles to avoid solving their problems themselves.

The narrative and writing style of this book will not be loved by everyone. While I did enjoy and admire it, it felt overly complex and made me lose my attention many times. It also became hard to keep up with which character’s story was being narrated because it all started sounding the same.

The book doesn’t have a plot, per say. Mohini narrates stories of certain events and characters from her perspective and of course, her story as well.

Mohini’s story discusses how the world talks about women who express desire, are provocative, and how female sexuality is treated. 

I loved reading about the topics the author discussed in relation to mythological characters. However, if the narrative style had been simpler and more gripping, I would have enjoyed the book more.

The author beautifully connects the world of mythology—of the divine, to the harsh realities, conditions, and flaws of the real world. She discusses sexism, misogyny, patriarchy, and female sexuality, among other themes in a brilliant way through mythological characters.

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