To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
The Palace of Illusions: A Novel Paperback – February 10, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Book Award and the internation Premio Scanno Prize. Divakaruni also writes for children and young adults.
Her latest novel is Oleander Girl (Simon and Schuster, 2013). Her upcoming novel is Before We Visit the Goddess (about 3 generations of women-- grandmother, mother and daughter-- who each examine the question "what does it mean to be a successful woman." April 2016, Simon & Schuster.)
Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into movies. Her novels One Amazing Thing and Palace of Illusions have been optioned. Her collection of stories, Arranged Marriage has been made into a play.
She was born in India and came to the United States to continue her education, receiving a Master's degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
She currently teaches in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program at the Univ. of Houston. She serves on the Advisory board of Maitri in the San Francisco Bay Area and Daya in Houston, organizations that help South Asian or South Asian American women in abusive situations. She is also closely involved with Pratham, an organization that helps educate children (especially those living in urban slums) in India.
She has judged several prestigious awards, such as the National Book Award and the PEN Faulkner Award.
She lives in Houston with her husband Murthy and has two sons, Anand and Abhay (whose names she has used in her children's novels).
Top Customer Reviews
Reading this book was similar to reading "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West". The story is told from the point of view of Panchaali and she narrates the story starting when she is very young. Whole chapters have other characters telling stories that Panchaali is not involved in as a dialogue between herself and other characters. I especially enjoyed this technique in an early chapter when she and her brother Dhri go back and forth about how their father's generation got into their current problems. Her nanny tells her the story of her birth through fire and other stories come along the way. For the most part Panchaali talks about what she is experiencing and how she feels about things. She starts with very child-like ideas but as the story progresses some depth is acquired.
Overall I loved the story.Read more ›
And even more central to the story is of the remarkable Draupadi, the exquisite princess who becomes the wife of the five brothers -- all at the same time. But along with the Pandavas, Draupadi also acquires Kunti, her demanding, bitter mother-in-law. Chitra Benerjee Divakaruni takes this story, and by telling it through the eyes of Draupadi, gives it all a unique spin.
For Draupadi -- or Panchaali, as she also named -- is also the product of a magical birth. Born in the flames of a fire, she and her twin brother, Dhristadyumna, destined to fulfill their father's terrible thirst for revenge against his sworn brother, Drona. There is also their cousin, Krishna, dark-skinned and irresistible to both men and women, and who seemingly can't give a straight answer without a riddle attached. Draupadi finds herself longing for a marriage to a brave prince, who will make her a dazzling queen in her own palace -- but when a fortune-teller prophecies that not only will she have just that, but also bring about the end of the Third Age of Man, Draupadi starts to suspect that having exactly what she wants may not be the same as wanting it. For when the contest is held to pick her husband-to-be, not only is she a contested prize, but she meets someone that will change her life forever... and change the course of the great civil war that is to come.
I have to say, this is quite a novel.Read more ›
Rating: 4/5 stars
February 23, 2008
For fans of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS is quite a departure from her previous novels. In her most current work, Divakaruni attempts to take the tale of the Mahabharat, the longest epic poem in history, and rewrites it so that the focus is now on the woman that played a large part in this epic tale. Panchaali, the woman who is fated to marry five men of royal birth, tells the story of her life and how she and her marriage changes the course of history.
The story starts with Panchaali's childhood, which is not one that was typical in her day. She manages to get an education alongside her brother, although it is forbidden for girls to go to school, and she learns the ways of War and other important topics needed to rule a kingdom.
When a wise man comes to her and tells her that she will eventually marry five brothers and be the cause of a Great War, Panchaali of course does not believe it. But as one by one the prophecies come true, Panchaali knows that her life has been fated to end in tragedy.
THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS is the epic tale of a woman who finds herself to be the catalyst of a war that will change the lives of many in ancient India. One may want to compare this tale to the likes of Homer's famous epics, with Indian gods and royalty living as one. It's also a tale of love and passion, with a strong emphasis on tragedy. I found that this was not an easy read, but when I finally reached the end of the story, I had a sense of satisfaction at having read such an admirable piece of writing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Engaging book - can be the briefest description.
I am an Indian and have immersive experience of stories and anecdotes of Mahabharat and Ramayan,
This was a very... Read more
Really fascinating to read the story of the great epic Mahabharata from the view point of the most imperative figures in the tale.Published 4 months ago by Deepti Gupta
it is legend and mythology but a great to read how Draupadi felt and some interesting twists were - Draupadi secretly loved karna ( the unsung hero). Read morePublished 5 months ago by Vani Sarin
A well written book of the Mahabharata that bringgs back all the accumulated memories of this wonderful tale and adds new points of view. Read morePublished 5 months ago by S. Kolinjavadi
“Some women are lost in the fire. Some women are built from it.” -Michelle K, Some
This book follows the life of one such woman who was built from fire – Draupadi. Read more
The Palace of Illusions, the best selling novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, gives a whole new perspective of Mahabharata from a woman's point of view. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer