The Palace Of Illusions – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

ImageTitle : The Palace Of Illusions

Author : Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

ISBN-10 : 1400096200

ISBN-13 : 978-1400096206

Paperback : 384 pages

The Plot :

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is brings a very different perspective to the Indian epic Mahabharata. It is a narration of the epic from Draupadi/Paanchali’s point of view.

For those who are not aware, The Mahabharata, is a very important part of Indian Hindu mythology. It is the struggle for the throre of Hastinapura, in India that was ruled by the Kuru clan. The main characters are segregated into two families, The Pandavas (five brothers) and the Kauravas (one hundred brothers). At its core, The Mahabharata is a story of how good triumphs over evil even though the good may be outnumbered by the evil.

Draupadi also known as Paanchali is the wife of the Pandavas. Yes she is married to them all but not simultaneously. For a year she is wife to one brother and sister-in-law to the others and this continues year after year. In the Indian mythology the Pandavas are revered to as Gods and can do no wrong (although there are many mistakes they make as humans in the epic). This book gives a different perspective and treats them as humans with real flaws.

It starts with the birth of Draupadi, the fire child, princess of Paanchal and continues through her life. It talks about how she falls in love with one man and is forced to marry five others instead. You see her deal with everyday issues to things like trying to adjust being married to five men. She has her list of pros and cons of each husband and how they treat her and look at her so differently. It also shows you how she is one of the main reasons that The Mahabharata even occurred. It speaks of humanized characters, rather than the tragic, even if flawed, heroes of the original epic, whose travails the reader identifies with. 

It is interesting to read because in most other versions of the epic, old and new alike, the women are more of side characters, whereas in this book Draupadi is in the centre of the actions. It is based totally of historic facts from the epic with some welcome additions by the author. Yes we all know how it ends and we know the whole story before reading the book, but it is the narration and the modernized revision of the story that makes it a compelling read. It was such a beautifully narrated version of The Mahabharata that after the book ended it left me begging for more. I enjoyed every minute of the book and place it very high on my recommendations list.  

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/1400096200

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/

For More About The Mahabharata : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabharata

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