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Friday, July 12, 2019

Book Review - The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
My Rating - 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher - Picador
Genre - Mythological Fiction
Publishing year - 2008
Language - English
ISBN - 978-0-330-45853-5
Pages - 360



My Review - 

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is based on Indian epic the Mahabharata which was written by sage Ved Vyasa. In this book, the story is narrated by Panchali's point of view. She is the daughter of the king Drupad, also known as Draupadi; wife of five Pandavas, and mistress of the breathtaking and stupendous palace.

Panchali was headstrong, but an egoistic and restless woman. Her harsh words lead to the end of an era, but it was entirely not her fault. She was just a pawn or instrument in God's play. The women were considered their husband's property. They have to do whatever they told to, which leads Panchali to a lifelong shame when her husband Yudhisthir lost their kingdom, his younger brothers Bheem, Arjun, Nakul, and Sahdev in a gamble to his cousin brother, Duryodhana in Hastinapur. That unfortunate day, Yudhisthir crossed all the limits and played gamble on Panchali and lost her too. Duryodhana and his brother Dussasan humiliate her in front of everyone. No one comes to her rescue, except Krishna. All of her husbands stay still and watch the disgraceful act, including the great warriors like Karna, Drona, Bhishma. The age-old rivalry between Pandavas and Kauravas played out in the ground of Kurukshetra, which is considered the end of Dvapar Yug.

Mahabharat is one of the most intriguing read. It has hundreds of stories, all were interconnected. My favorite characters from this epic are Karna and Abhimanyu. The Palace of Illusions is a short version of Mahabharata; one can know all the specific facts by reading this book. Panchali and his brother Dhristadyumna were born from the yajna fire. She craves for true love, but all she got is humiliation. Her hidden feelings for another man, even after married to five men, were a cause of her inner turmoil and sufferings. She was considered the reason for million widows and fatherless children, but she didn't care. She wants vengeance, no matter what was the cost. She lost all her loved ones, in the end, and died alone. Her husbands were too engrossed in their own journey that they can't go back to the woman who stays with them in their troubled times. I am so glad that I picked this book, as most of the stories I already knew, but to read it from a female perspective is a new thing. I love the cover page. The language is straightforward. The pain and suffering of Karna and Panchali's touch the reader's heart. Chitra Banerjee's storytelling makes this book magical. It is a must read. 

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