The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

25 06 2012

Rating: 4.5/5, a must read for the girls!

Genre: Historical Fiction

The Power Of Kick-Ass Draupadi
They say, never judge a book by its cover but it’s the cover of this book that made me want to read it. It is beautiful, mesmerising and mysterious. The green colour is just lovely. And so is the book.

An age old story (Mahabharata), heard it a million times and yet, enjoyed it all over again. This goes to show, how a certain thing is written can matter more than the story itself sometimes (definitely not always). The lead character is Draupadi (or Paanchali if you like), known for being fiery, emancipated, a woman of the world. This book takes her character a step further. Her thoughts, ideas and actions are something you can so relate to, understand completely and also forgive when you think about why she did what she did.  It is straight from a woman’s brain (and heart).
How Draupadi interprets individuals, manipulates them when required and also gives in to them when she knows she’s in a tight spot. All those incidents and mini-stories of Mahabharata take a new meaning although you feel so very often, that’s how I thought about it when I first heard the story. But it’s all about Paanchali through & through and you don’t mind it for even a minute. If the characters of a book reflect the personality of the writer, Chitra must be one kick-ass babe!

The book is very feminist in attitude but anyone who enjoys a good book, even men, will surely love this one. Of course, you need to be familiar with the Mahabharata story & characters to be able to understand the whole take on them. A brilliant and  fast paced book, which I wouldn’t mind reading again.

Take a look at some lovely quotes from the book and here’s one I really liked:

“Can’t you ever be serious?’ I said, mortified.
‘It’s difficult,’ he said.  ‘There’s so little in life that’s worth it.”

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