Victory City : 03/21/23
Victory City by Salman Rushdie (2023) is a fantasy retelling of a piece of India's history, specifically the area that's now the southern end of the country. It's told through the purported epic poem (translated, of course) of Pampa Kampana, a woman who founded a kingdom and lived until it fell.
As the narrative is being told through the words of a nearly immortal woman, one is reminded of Orlando by Virginia Woolf (1928). Woolf's "biography" is both an exploration of gender and a history of England. Victory City tries to do the same for southern India but, for me at least, misses the mark.
Although the words come from a woman, she's not the focus of the novel, beyond the translator making comments on her words or on inconsistencies within the text. Instead the focus is on the kingdom and the men who run it or otherwise influence it.
The brother shepherds turned kings by Pampa Kampana's magic enhanced seeds also put this novel on the Road Narrative Spectrum. I am including a chart showing Victory City's placement relative to Orlando's.