Friday, March 14, 2014

Read Review: The Palace of Illusions

The Palace of IllusionsThe Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb: A reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat—told from the point of view of an amazing woman.

Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale.

The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.


I simply loved this book. Although I wanted to know the end, I did not want the book to end. It is the Mahabharata that almost all Indians know about, but narrated by Panchaali. May be being a woman, I was able to relate to the protagonist in depth, her charisma, her enigma, her dilemma. To me this book was a love story which was not meant to be achieved in life but in death. Panchali stayed on with me for many days after I finished her story.


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