for ISKCON News on Jan. 26, 2012
A Prince in Exile is the first in a three volume translation of India’s literary masterpiece – Ramayana. A Prince in Exile (Part 1) is not only a feast for the eyes, but also a delightful retelling of the classic.
An exceptionally talented mother and daughter team have created one of the most beautiful children’s and young adult’s versions of the Ramayana. Readers will be fascinated by Annapurna’s captivating illustrations and Vrinda’s mesmerizing narration.
Following are reviews on this book by scholars of Hinduism:
For those of us who have seen innumerable translations, adaptations, epitomes and interpretations of India's Ramayana, the great story of Rama, it is no less than astonishing to find that a very young author has suddenly risen to the summit of the millenial Ramayana tradition with her fantastic new rendition of the story. With riveting language, dramatic flair, and deep psychological insight, Vrinda weaves her splendid tale, which is beautifully illustrated by the able artistic hand of her devoted mother, who inspired her daughter's work. Veteran Ramayana readers, curious neophytes and everyone in between will be delighted and thrilled by this amazing work, supposedly written for the young, yet captivating for readers of all ages.
—Hridayananda das Gowami (Howard Resnick, Phd., Religious Studies, Harvard University)
Vrinda’s Prince Rama is a welcome addition to the Ramayana storytelling corpus. Inspired by the ancient Sanskrit epic of Valmiki and the 12th century Tamil poem by Kampan, she has retold the story in simple yet lovely prose, showing remarkable insight into characters and events that have fascinated tellers and audiences for millennia. In crafting a Ramayana especially for young readers, she has not oversimplified the story, and her telling should appeal to people of all ages. Further enhanced with charming illustrations by the author’s mother, this labor of love and intercultural discovery is (in keeping with the spirit of the tale) truly a family affair.
—Philip Lutgendorf, Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies, University of Iowa and author of Hanuman’s Tale (Oxford University Press, 2007)
For young readers, here is an ideal introduction to Valmiki’s classic tale of good and evil. There are dozens of Ramayanas, but the graphic narrative and engaging illustrations lift this edition of India’s beloved epic to the top of the pile. Highly recommended.
—Joshua M. Greene - Religions Department, Hofstra University
Vrinda Sheth, writes, “My main aim has been to make the Ramayana more accessible to young readers for whom older versions have lost relevance, may seem too dry, or are otherwise too challenging.”
Ms. Sheth delivered on her promise when she eloquently penned her unique version of this timeless treasure adapted from the scriptural teachings of ancient India. She brings all of the glorious personalities of this story to life in a way that is sure to keep youngsters reading this captivating classic again and again. The author’s words are only enhanced by the enchanting artwork of her mother, Anna Johansson. I highly recommend this book as a part of every family's home library.
— Susan Pattinson, RN, Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN), Certified Hospice Educator, Author of The Final Journey--Complete Hospice Care for Departing Vaisnavas (Torchlight Publishing)
Prince Rama, Son of the Solar Dynasty, as a modern adaptation for young people, is lovingly written by Vrinda and illustrated by her mother, Ann, in a way that invites all to enter deeply into the spirit of the drama that propels the story forward and makes it part of our collective memory. Even those familiar with the Ramayana will experience it in a new light, as Vrinda offers plausible details to enhance the ancient narrative and Ann's illustrations bring to new life the characters of Rama and his associates.
While reading it, I wished that such a book had been available to me when growing up, and now that Prince Rama is available, I can enthusiastically recommend it to all Ramayana enthusiasts, either existing or in the making (this book will certainly make one a Ramayana enthusiast if not so already).
— Kenneth R.Valpey, Ph.D. (University of Oxford) Fellow, Oxford Centre of Hindu Studies, Professor of Indian Studies (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
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