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The Palace of Illusions: A Novel Paperback – February 10, 2009
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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
I read sections of the Mahabharata in my freshman humanities class years ago, but even kinda knowing the highlights of the story didn't make this book any less glorious. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Nikki
Must read for all the young girls. Had to read it without putting it down. Such a nice blend of history and modern writing. Strongly recommend.Published 1 month ago
I've read the Mahabharata and been a devotee of the tradition for more than forty years. I loved the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MichaelWright-Author
Hi! I am reading The palace of illusion ... Loving it ... I am reading the mythological story that we all know so well and grew up reading , hearing and wAtching so many times with... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nita Bajoria
All the stories we have read from Mahabharata are completly male's point of view. But this book goes in the female's perspective which we completely had to ignore or forget . Read morePublished 1 month ago by thota sadhvika
In our Literature Circle at school, we chose to read "The Palace of Illusions" by Chitra Divakaruni and discuss it together. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bill Li