Posted in Books

Book Review: Shikhandi and Other Stories They Don’t Tell You, by Devdutt Pattanaik

Books about mythology and inspired by mythology (and especially Indian mythology) are quite interesting to read.

Queerness isn’t only modern, Western or sexual, says mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik. Take a close look at the vast written and oral traditions in Hinduism, some over two thousand years old, and you will find many overlooked tales, such as those of Shikhandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife; Mahadeva, who became a woman to deliver his devotee’s child; Chudala, who became a man to enlighten her husband; Samavan, who became the wife of his male friend; and many more . . 

There are so many tales unheard of and so many tales that I’ve been told by my grandmother while growing up. This book’s titular character was familiar, so I picked it up, but I was happy to discover and read some stories for the first time.

Be it the life of Shikhandi or the wisdom of Chudala, this book kept me intrigued. I was pleasantly surprised to know there’s a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva as Thayumanaswami. I remember reading about Sumedhas and Samavan earlier too, as well as Rishyashrunga.

If the familiarity of tales from mythology is a positive, the author’s thoughts and explanations about the particular story at times become a bonus. Some are very interesting to follow. The introduction to the book felt a bit too detailed, but it was nice to read about queerness in different mythology from around the world.

This is definitely a book to read again.

A Score Of 8 Out Of 10

Book Details:
Title: Shikhandi, and Other Stories They Don’t Tell You
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Genre: Mythology
ISBN/ASIN: 9789383074846
No. of Pages: 196
Publisher: Penguin Books
Rating: 8 out of 10

Vinay Leo R.
© A Bookworm’s Musing
30th Mar. 2019


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

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