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.

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17 comments on “The Palace of Illusions

  1. I have been waiting for you to do the review T. Well since yesterday when I finished reading the book.
    And I agree with you on everything.
    Knowing the story the only part that took me by surprise was the Draupadi and Karan part. Have never read or heard of it before.
    A very well written book that I just loved reading.

    • Titaxy says:

      yupe…true…i was surprised to read that part too :)…all i knew was that he was present at the swayamvar, but wasn’t given a chance…but didn’t know about her love for him…and his love for her :)…it was a pleasant read, i totally enjoyed it!

  2. […] been reading Chitra Banarjee Divakurani’s The Palace of Illusions – story of Mahabharat from Draupadi’s point of view – for the past couple of days. Today, […]

  3. Hmmm…interesting. I never really liked her character in Mahabharat. But I do remember liking Karna. I’m surprised at the relationship between the two as I had no idea…and didn’t know he was even present at the swayamvar for that matter!

  4. BlueMist says:

    I need pick this asap now. Being Fan of chitra’s books; I am sure I am gonna love this 🙂

  5. […] I would recommend it if you have read the author before and you like her work. Otherwise, read The Palace of Illusions by the author first, see how you like it and then maybe give this a […]

  6. Smitha says:

    I just finished the book and loved it! As you say, Draupadi’s character has been explored so well. I actually felt what she was feeling, it was so well etched. As for Krishna – he has been my favourite too and I loved the way he was portrayed.. I am going to re-read it now.

  7. I bought the book T based ONLY on this review(the review increased my curiosity to that level), and I must say that I am not at all disappointed 🙂

    The part where she tears her sari and ties around Krishna’s cut finger, and the look he gave her, and the interpretation of that look, the whole thing has just stayed with me 🙂

    Superb recommendation 🙂

    Thanks!

  8. Sonia says:

    I loved this book too!! Couldnt keep it down once I started reading it!

  9. Avina says:

    Wow…..your words exactly describe the way I felt when I read this book. Its simply awesome….I just cudnt keep the book down….kept me mesmerized….I had heard stories of the Mahabharata but had never read it so far and I am glad I read Draupadi’s version of it…. 🙂

  10. NS says:

    I am reading this book right now and seriously, I am in love with Karna. Your review does justice to the book..

  11. […] all started with Palace of Illusions. Even without having any knowledge about Mahabharata or the inclination to gain it, I wanted to […]

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