Monday 27 April 2015

The Rape Of Sita, 1993, Lindsey Collen ****

Evidently, this novel narrates on the "Rape of Sita"; however it is not just the "Rape of Sita" per se. It is also, essentially, about the oppression of the Mauritians during the British colonization.
A story about the struggle of generations of Mauritians to regain their freedom and peace of mind from the scourge of colonization. Sita was one woman determined to be part of that history. Although, she was raped by a family friend under weird circumstances. The story is mainly based on how she moved along without doubting her own integrity. How she survived such terrible experience in a society where everyone else is mentally raped.
"The Rape of Sita"  was told through the voice of a male character, who knows Sita so well; I assume, since he narrated on the incident in detail. Though, he was not involved in committing the offense. Additionally, he tends to address the reader directly, which could be a pet hate.
"Here is the first dilemma, dear reader. Should she have gone to the Seychelles at all? Can a person know what will happen as a result of this decision to go to a conference?"
I guess readers should have the liberty to reach their own conclusion without being constantly asked to take a minute to reflect on a particular issue. Again, I am sure the writer purposely wanted to narrate her story that way. Apart from that, it is a novel poetically and beautifully written, no gory details of the horrific event. I recommend.
I came across it because it is part of my Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa Region Winners Reading Challenge. It won the 1994 Commonwealth Writers' Prize: Best Book, Africa. And I must say that it deserves the Prize. First novel ever read set in Mauritius.
Linsey Collen, born in South Africa is known as a Mauritian novelist whose works have twice won the Commonwealth Writers Prize as Best Book Africa.

Furthermore, another novel I have read that primarily narrates on rape is Lucky by Alice Sebold, a non-fiction. Quite a troubling read, indeed. However, rape in "The Rape of Sita" was approached in a totally different way.
Finally, I'd recommend you read A Rant on Misrepresentation of Rape in Literature by Amy on Amy Reads, one blogger, whose posts I follow often. Though, I must say that "The Rape of Sita" do not belong to any of the three categories mentioned in the post.

Please, let me know your thoughts if you've read this novel.


  1. Thanks so much for linking to my post - this sounds like a really interesting read, and I'm glad to hear that it's an exception to the stereotypes I'm sick of :) The questions by the narrator kind of scare me though - it almost sounds like he's blaming her which I really don't want to be the case! Either way, sounds like a book worth trying so I'm adding it to my wish list!


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