Savitri: A Tale of Ancient India

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A smooth retelling of a tale from The Mahabharata, “India’s great national epic,” first transcribed about 2000 years ago after a long life in the oral tradition; an excellent note suggests that it “arises from a time when…women [were] far more independent than later Indian culture allowed.” The wise and beautiful princess Savitri, seeking a husband of her own choice, selects the impoverished son of a conquered king, despite a prophecy that the son will die in just a year. When Yama (death) appears, she outwits him with a series of ingenious bargains in which she not only regains her beloved husband’s life but restores her father-in-law’s kingdom. Rosenberry’s delicately drawn illustrations strike a good balance between bright, stylized scenes that recall Indian art and more realistically expressive characters that will appeal to a contemporary audience.


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