Book Reviews

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Palace of Illusions is a beautiful monologue by the Paanchali i.e. Draupadi who is considered to be one of the most important reasons behind the epic Battle of Kurukshetra. The narrative is surprisingly very contemporary and the author has subtly used one of the most powerful women in the Indian mythology to capture the thoughts that crosses every other woman on this earth as she travel through the journey of life from infancy to death. The language is simple and descriptions are mesmerizing, especially the ones in which she describes her mysterious relationship with Krishna and her infatuation with Karna.

Every character, who is pivotal in Draupadi’s life, (specifically Dhrishtadyumna and Kunti) has been charted out fantastically from Draupadi’s point of view, bringing out the various emotions and moments that the character goes through as the story moves from a stable kingdom to a war. Though I wish the author had written a little more about Arjun and Draupadi as it was Arjun who had won Draupadi’s hand in the first place. The protagonist seems to be having thoughts about everyone except her own or rather primary husband!

The juxtaposition of various stories of the innumerable secondary characters is done nicely, though I had read most of them before in a lesser known kids’ book on Indian Mythology. This is what I absolutely love about Mythology; there are countless number of tales and folklores about every single character, which in turn give rise to newer characters and so on. One can never quite get done with all the available literature on the said subject 😀 .

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