Penguin present Uttara: The Book Of Answers translated by Arshia Sattar. The book exquisitely captures the heady delights of the original text in all its sensuous, colourful detail—frenzied battles, simmering intrigue, lustful demons, and the final and tragic act in Rama and Sita’s love story.
Of the seven books that comprise the Valmiki Ramayana, the Uttara Kanda is the final and perhaps the most problematic: Rama banishes his beloved Sita to the forest; Rama kills Shambuka, a low-caste man practising austerities that are above his station; Rama is reunited with his sons during a sacrifice at which he loses his wife forever; Rama watches over the death of his devoted brother Lakshmana who knowingly submits to a curse that will take his life.
Uttara Kanda raises more questions than it answers, and Arshia’s accompanying essays skilfully explore the shattering consequences of Rama’s actions even as they unravel the complex moral universe of the Ramayana.
About the translator:
Arshia Sattar has a PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. Her translation of Valmiki’s Ramayana is now a bestselling Penguin Classic. Lost Loves: Exploring Rama’s Anguish is a series of essays that reads the Ramayana as a tragic love story. Penguin has also published The Mouse Merchant: Money in Ancient India as well as her translation of Somadeva’s Tales from the Kathāsaritsāgara. She works with myth, epic and the story literatures of the subcontinent.