Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to the time “The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is as sprawling and . Through the long, lonely years of my childhood, when my father’s palace seemed to tighten its grip around me until I couldn’t breathe, I would go to my nurse and. : The Palace of Illusions: A Novel (): Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: Books.

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Married to five royal husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom, Panchaali aids their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war. But she cannot deny her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna—or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands’ most dangerous enemy—as she is caught up in the ever-manipulating hands of fate.

Divakaruni’s sentences dazzle; the images she creates are masterful. Divakaruni’s feminist reading of Indian lore offers readers a magical lens into the political interplay of gender, castes, birthright and life in the monarchy.

A writer to watch. And with The Palace of Illusions Divakaruni likewise makes this reimagining of the “Mahabharat” easy to understand through the simple,straightforward narrative.

Moreover, Divakaruni masterfully describes the lyrical beauty of Indians and the elegant logic of Hinduism. It is particularly refreshing to read an author who breaks the mold as clearly as Divakaruni does A creative, illuminating feminist work that compels us to re-examine the original text As in all great cathartic tales, Divakaruni’s novel grasps our attention from beginning to end and is a healing, aesthetic experience.

Whether or not readers are familiar with the “Mahabharat” epic, still fascinating and relevant several millennia on, they will enjoy this entertaining, insightful, and suspenseful story.

With hundreds of characters in the story of a great war, she tells the story from the point of view of a woman – Panchaali – who is married to five brothers” — New York Post. Brimming with betrayals, religious fervor and war-torn streets, The Palace of Illusions is a journey experienced from the vantage point of Panchaali, a powerful woman dfiven by love, honor and, in the end, a fate that unfolds despite her resolve.

These elements and many more are found in abundance in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new novel, The Palace of Illusions, which ambitiously encapsulates the Indian epic “Mahabharat” within a page novel. Divakaruni has triumphantly fulfilled a profound mission.

Whether or not readers are familiar with the Mahabharat epic, still fascinating and relevant several millennia on, they will enjoy this entertaining, insightful and suspenseful story. Recommended for all fiction collections. The story is complex, as political relationships grow and develop, and friends and enemies are created, leading to battles and wars that will eventually destroy them all.

I was captivated by the tragic storyline and the fate into which Panchaali was born. This admirable attempt to recreate the epic Mahabharat from the viewpoint of a strong woman is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s best work yet. Her women are desperate, wonderful, complicated, lyrical, memorable, even magical Chitra’s women experience love, loss and longing through tangled marriages, bitter divorces, childbirth, abortion, abuse, violence, racism, poverty and riches.


Now, in a daring novel out this month, Banerjee Divakaruni returns to a fantastic world, inhabited by kings, queens, villains and sorcerers.

Divakaruni’s rich, action-filled narrative contrasts well with the complex psychological portrait of a mythic princess. An ambitious project effectively executed. She lives in Houston, Texas, and teaches creative writing at the University of Houston.

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Before We Visit the Goddess: Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Xhitra of My Heart: The Mistress of Spices: Anchor; Reprint edition February 10, Language: Start reading The Palace of Illusions: A Novel on your Kindle in under a minute. Don’t have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers.

Write a customer review. See all customer images. Read reviews that mention palace of illusions point of view chitra banerjee well written banerjee divakaruni bhagavad gita must read indian mythology pandava brothers even though born of fire story of the mahabharata female character read the mahabharata birth from the fire chitra banerjee divakaruni different perspective loved this book reading this book highly recommend. Showing of reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Revenge, flawed characters, complex relationships, illegitimate children, riches-to-rags, long drawn climax in the back drop of a war Mahabharata is indeed the consummate drama – universal and timeless.

It is indeed my favorite epic of all times – the main reason I picked up Divakaruni’s book. In the 70’s I read the abridged version by Rajagopalachari; in the 80’s I watched the soap opera style serialization on Indian National TV.

Yet my most vivid memories of the epic trace back to my school days. When I was in the fourth grade, every day illuaions I returned from school, my grandfather used to tell me the story of Mahabharata, which has left a indelible impression on my memory!

First, I commend Divakaruni for attempting what she did – presenting the epic from the perspective of the strong yet off beat Draupadi. Personally I have always been fascinated by Karan Karna – noble and brave yet somehow flawed- whose life is a series of mis-steps and mishaps. This book made me realize that Draupadi’s character is equally complex, her story equally rich in a contorted way. Divakaruni succeeds in drawing out the pathos and immersing the reader into the mind of Draupadi, the wife of five husbands!

Resolute, manipulating, ill tempered – dusky Draupadi sounds and seems banerjeee real and more importantly succeeds in retaining the reader’s sympathy despite her machinations!

The Palace of Illusions

Even when some writing liberties are taken with respoect to the epic content, the result is not jarring. Some of the metaphors are novel.

The irony of Draupadi’s latent love for Karan while being married to his five brothers is very well captured with adequate attention given to the ancient times when depicting their encounters.


Where Divakaruni falters is in telling too much too quickly – which gives the narrative a sense of rush – as if in a hurry to get to the end and over with it. Halfway into the book I started to feel the drama is somehow missing. Crisp scenes to depict the underlying conflict and showing the feelings of her husbands in interaction with Draupadi could have helped retain the dramatic quotient.

While Draupadi’s ephiphany at the end is along expected lines, it lacks the punch to make it memorable. In one of the most cruical scenes in the book, Draupadi is forewarned by Vyaasa of three situations when her reaction would get her in trouble.

Yet, when these events happen, Draupadi’s reflections are weak or non existent. A little disappointing that an opportunity for making a greater impact has been missed! This was a beautiful story. The Mahabharata, an epic Indian poem, is told by Draupadi, a woman literally born from the flames.

Draupadi, married to five brothers helps bring about the fall of he Third Age of Man. She relates the story of her life that began from flames to her rise to power as wife to five brothers, papace then to her and her brothers final fate.

Through Draupadi’s voice illuzions learn about the struggle between two powerful banegjee – the Pandavas and Kauravas.

Not only is the story highly interesting, but the are many beautful meditations on baneejee, love, and vengeance. I read this book on my Kindle. The only bad part of the book was the family chart, which was hard to read. But once I really got involved in the story, I had little trouble keeping the charatcters straight. I found I really didn’t need the chart that much. Someone else though might want to read a paper copy instead if they have trouble reading books with lots of characters.

I highlighted and made notations on many passages from this book, because I found them to be very thought provoking. I now feel compelled to read an English translation of the Mahabharata. Here is one passage I thought was very wise: Draupadi wants to find a golden lotus and thinks to herself, “I knew that the remedy lay not in finding a new flower but in Krishna had advised me over and again: Let the past go.

Allow the future to arrive at its own pace, unfurling its secrets when it will. I knew I should live the life that teemed around me: This book was absolutely beautiful. A very ambitious story and practically a retelling of the Mahabharata. Cleverly done in parts by putting episodes in dreams and chigra. But a lot is lost by trying to get everything in one novel.

The reader who is familiar with the original epic will not be too disappointed. From a novel woman’s approach. One person found this helpful.

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