The Palace of Illusions | Book Review


You’ve read it as a book and you’ve seen it on television. The huge epic, the greatest saga of ancient India, the magnanimous story called – Mahabharata. Among the many characters that have been etched in your memories ever since you first encountered this great tale of war, of righteousness, of wrongdoings or of greatness of character, there are stories of some, whom you can never forget. Such are the stories of the great warriors – Karna, Arjun or Abhimanyu.

The Palace Of Illusions

Image Courtesy: SpicyChilli

And the story itself has been told many times over, but not once in this manner. Not once from that female perspective, that feminine touch.

Kritya, that’s what she was called. Kritya, the one destined to be the destroyer of the world. She’s adored many names – Krishnaa, Sairandhri, Panchaali, but we recall – Draupadi. And what goes on inside the mind of that girl when she is told that she has set out to turn the course of history or as a wife or a mother when she’s to witness the eighteen day long and the most remarkable battle fought in the field of Kurukshetra, is something very few must’ve given a strong thought. And that’s why you hit the right chord when you get your hands on this book.

The book isn’t complete. It lacks the fullness of the great saga, but it doesn’t fail to efficiently capture what it was written for. The burning feelings inside the mind of Draupadi, whose name when taken brings back the image of that lady who is stripped down by Dussasana in open court, only to be saved by Krishna. Just that. But in this book by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (kudos to her), we get a chance to explore one of the lesser-known characters of those times. Be it when she has to marry five husbands or face her mother-in-law, Kunti or when she faces the worst at the hands of the strong and dark Duryodhana or Karna, Keechak or Jayadratha. Her facets, her existence, her personality – all for real start to bloom out as you turn through the pages of her life.

This book isn’t recommended for someone who is trying to find additional reading material in and around Mahabharata. But it will be a treat for someone who loves to know  the other side of the story. ‘Her’ story.

Overall Rating: 4/5

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