- Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
- Release: 12th February 2008
- Pages: 360
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Publisher: Doubleday
- Language: English
- Good Reads Rating: 4.16 / 5
The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a phenomenal book. It attempts to do a thing that has never been done before. The book narrates one of India’s greatest epic from the perspective of the woman, who is believed to have been the root cause of the end of the Third Age of Man.
The book states everything, from Draupadi’s birth to her final journey towards heaven, which she undertook with her five husbands. This is done through a first-person narrative, thus, giving a different perspective to the epic. Divakaruni weaves magic with her words. Because of how she portrays Panchali, the character comes out as a powerful, strong, and independent woman. Panchali is portrayed to be equal to the men around her. Her life is presented as an outcome of her own choices, rather than the ones that were imposed on her by the powerful men in her life. From her father to her husbands each male member in her life tried to take charge of her destiny. They tried to manipulate her, mold her, use her, but she was the master of her own fate. Panchali has been portrayed as the ultimate ‘beauty with brains’.
All the characters in the book are described so well that they come to life for the readers. Especially, Karan and Krishna. They are so vividly described that you can’t help feel sorry for Karan, but at the same time, you are forced to admire all the things Krishna stands for. Justice has been done to the other women in the book too. You can’t help but feel admiration for them.
For me, the book brought out a completely new side of the Mahabharat that I had never thought of before. During childhood, it was all about Gods and things that maybe happened hundreds of thousands of years ago. But, after reading the book, a more humanistic side of the events appeared in front of me. The book is a must-read for all the people who love history and Indian mythology. In fact, it is meant for all book lovers out there who love a well written female lead. I would never think twice before re-reading the book.