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The Palace of Illusions By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - Book review


Epic tale from the perception of Draupadi 

Book name: The Palace of Illusions
Writer: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Source: Read from Library
Total pages: 360
Language: English
Genre: Mythological Fiction/ Fiction


Written by Sage Vyas, Mahabharata is an epic tale. We all have heard many stories of Mahabharata since childhood. Every story has its own significance, hidden meaning, moral for humanity. It has told that Mahabharata happens because of Draupadi. But has anyone tried to see Mahabharata through the eyes of Draupadi? How has she felt when she have to marry five husbands? when was she humiliate in front of an entire court? In this novel author has tried to depict one of the great Epic Mahabharata from the perception of a woman, Draupadi. 

Plot Summary: 

Draupadi, daughter of king drupad born from the fire along with her brother Dhristadyumna. She grew up with her brother, who was her sole companion. She was a rebel from childhood wanted to be independent, equal to men. She renamed herself as Panchaali, (Kingdom of Panchaal). 

Panchaali, who grew up listening that she is born for some cause. A cause where she will be the reason to end the third age world. At the swaymver, Arjun won her by piercing the eye of fish. She started loving him but the destiny led her to get married to other four brother's of Arjun i.e. Yudhithir, Bheem, Nakul and Sahdev (Pandavas). Five husbands to one woman, it was beyond the imagination of the patriarchal society. She got a boon that every year she will be virgin again. Author has managed to write beautifully about the Panchaali views that this boon is only good for his husbands but not her. How will she able to detach the mind from her other husbands? 

Later, she got a palace of her own 'The Palace of Illusion' which she was dreaming of being a queen one day. As the name itself describes that it is the palace full of Illusion so soon the joy of palace become the sorrow of Panchaali and her husbands. As Yuthithir lost his entire kingdom and Panchaali in the gambling. Dussasan and Duryodhan tried to remove her saree in front of an entire court.

She tried to be a devoted wife of his five husbands by choosing the path of years of exile in the forest and always be there for every problem. But from the inside, she adores a man full of mysteries and enemy of Pandavas i.e. 'Karna'. Author has magnificently weaved the feeling of Panchaali towards Karna. At the same time, she has enigmatic relation with Krishna, who increased the size of saree during her humiliation in Kaurav Court.

Book Cover: 

I've never added this point in any of my book reviews but the front cover of this book forced me to write about it. The cover page is so intricately designed that it will give you the feeling of the palace of illusions. The shining star portrayed over the book cover is increasing its beauty. I really admire the mind behind the book cover designing.

Writing style: 

This book is written from the first-person  point of view (i.e. Panchaali) The narration is impeccable. Author has effectively created the mystic tale. After reading each part, you will resonate and urge to think about this.

My perception: 

The feeling of women always gets piled up under the patriarchal system. Nobody really cares about women and it's feeling. Mahabharata is called as the epic tale of many warriors but the sacrifice, pain and pride of Draupadi never came into existence (or they get neglected). It is really a commendable work of Divakaruni that she tried to portray the feeling of Panchaali for greatest war of time. In short she has fictionally remoulded the epic tale with the feminist aspect . Recommend reading to every bookworm!!

Halo of Book: Excellent !!!

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