Book Reviews

Book Review: The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Disclaimer: I paid for this book with my own money!!! 😛

Click here to read the book blurb.

My Review:

From all the women that we’ve come to know through the mythological folklore, I’ve liked Draupadi the most. Actually, like doesn’t justify. She is the woman who I’ve respected, been intrigued by, admired, and come to identify with. To me she is the most real of the lot.

The Palace of Illusions was one book that I’d been meaning to read since a very long time.

Finally, I’ve read it and boy, how happy I am about it.

I loved Chitra’s portrayal of Draupadi. The best thing about it was that the book isn’t exactly pro-Draupadi. I’d read a book on Duryodhana that had concentrated so much on showing Duryodhana in a positive light, that everybody else qualified to no good. TPOI does not bring you that disappointment.

Most of history remembers Draupadi as the woman who was wronged, who was derobed by the evil Kaurava, Dushasan, in the Great Hall, while her husbands and the elders could only helplessly watch. Chitra brings to you Draupadi, the human. A Draupadi who is so much more beyond what the world thinks of her.

Draupadi is flawed, like everyone of us. Like everyone of us, the demons of greed, jealousy, and arrogance haven’t spared her either. She lives from the heart and even though she regrets her decisions, she willingly accepts the punishments that come to her as rightful.

Her relationship with all five of her husbands, her mother-­in­-law, the other wives of her husbands, her children, and people in her father’s home has been portrayed beautifully. The icing on the cake, her relationship with her brother Dhri, and of course, her relationship with Karna. The cherry on the cake, her relationship with Krishna. Krishnaa and her Krishna.

The story, Chitra’s portrayal makes Draupadi so real, so relatable. Like they say that Ram and Ravan both live within us, I’ve come to believe that there is a Draupadi in all of us. Like Ram and Ravan, how we deal with her does in our hands.

I’ve read many articles that blame Draupadi for the great war. Why, I haven’t really been able to fathom. Surprisingly, Chitra doesn’t go into clearing that blame off Draupadi’s head. Draupadi is, in fact, shown to be as responsible for the war as everybody else, which I think is as fairly as you can put it. Like I’ve said before, it only makes Draupadi more real and relatable.

Chitra’s written it beautifully too, with a balanced use of the vocabulary. The grammar goes a little off key in some places, mostly where there are dialogues. But otherwise, it is a well written book.

This is such a beautiful book that I’d really recommend everybody to certainly read this book once.

My Rating:

A 4/5 for this one!

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One thought on “Book Review: The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

  1. This is one of my favourite novels, though I am not a fan of other novels by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. 🙂 I guess the novel touches a cord in most women.

    Ms. Divakaruni is working on a book about Sita, I hear. Looking forward to that.

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