The Palace of Illusions

…by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

The Palace of Illusions: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This book narrates us the story of Mahabharat…from Draupadi’s point of view.

I’m not going to narrate the story here for I won’t be able to do any justice trying to capture one of the greatest epics in my own words. So I will just get down to discussing what I thought of the book – I LOVED it.

The book is so well written that even though I knew where the story was headed I couldn’t put it down. Listening to stories from Mahabharat and Ramayan was almost a weekend ritual as I was growing up. So, most of what I read in the book wasn’t new to me. Still, I found myself turning page after page during the past few days until I finally finished reading every single word of it.

My all time favorite characters from Mahabharat are Krishna and Karna. I don’t think anything else fascinates me more than Krishna’s personality. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Everything from his charm to his mischief, his smile to his intellect has always mesmerized me. And Karna – where do I even start…his loyalty, his generosity – everything so admirable. So, needless to say, reading a story that these two play important roles in engrossed me right from the beginning.

I saw myself easily connecting with the story through Draupadi – her love for her brother, her admiration for her husbands, more importantly the special bond she shared with Krishna and the secret love she carried for Karna – all this I could relate with. From her childhood memories to her wedded days, from her yearning for Karna to her feeling vengeance towards the ones that humiliated her, from her struggle to rebel against the norm to learning to be a good wife and a queen – everything struck a chord somewhere.

Every time she longed for Karna to look at her, I did too. Every time she had tears in her eyes, I welled up. Every time she decided to go against the norm, I supported her wholeheartedly. Every time she cursed herself to be one of the main causes of the war, I could understand. Everything about the book, I loved.

To take one of the epics and weave the story around to present it from Draupadi’s point of view must have been hard. But the author did all the justice to it. As a reader, I couldn’t have asked for more. The flow in the story is amazing.  And the language is easy to follow.

I haven’t read any other books by this author, but after falling in love with her work on this book, I’m definitely going to read more of her soon.

So overall, I loved the book. This book ranks as one of my most favorites, without doubt.

Highly highly recommended.

My rating: 5*.

*for the rating scale, click here.