RAMA: A Legend by Jamake Highwater

RAMA: A Legend

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Prince Rama of Dasaratha is near death after an encounter with a beautiful green-haired creature he found in a newly plowed field. His mother, the old queen Kowsalya, tells the king that in the realm of King Janaka is a woman with the power to cure Rama. They travel there, Rama is cured, and he falls in love with Sita, the lovely green-haired daughter of King Janaka. (Rama has no recollection of his illness or the creature that caused it.) He passes a test in order to wed the beautiful Sita, and by marrying him she becomes human. Sita and Rama return to Dasaratha where they live happily until the king's young queen, Kekay-yee, forces the king to banish his son. Sita, Rama, and Rama's brother, Laksmana, leave the kingdom. In the wilderness outside the kingdom, they encounter demons and spirits, and Sita is abducted. Rama regains his kingdom and takes revenge on Kekay-yee. Eventually Sita returns -- in her nonhuman form -- to give Rama her most precious possession: the gift of life. In his endnote, adult and YA author Highwater (The Language of Vision, p. 608, etc.) explains the origins of this traditional myth of India and Southeast Asia. The work on which it's based, Ramayana, was 24,000 verses written in the first century B.C. Luckily, Highwater's version is shorter; but it's unfortunately too long, despite the lovely language, to keep the reader's attention.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0735105030
Page count: 185pp
Publisher: Holt