The Palace of Illusions

The Palace of Illusions

Book - 2008
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A reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat--told from the point of view of an amazing woman.

Relevant to today's war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale.

The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2008.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385515993
0385515995
Call Number: DIVAKARUNI
Characteristics: p. ; cm.
Subjects: India -- History -- To 324 B.C. -- Fiction.

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1soorma
Oct 27, 2014

The both book is well written but had added masala(info in book to dramatize it) that is non-legitimate and unnecessary. The part where she mentions her mother-in-laws tactics, her illicit affairs with another man,her liking for a particular husband, her being so stubborn, arrogant, and stern, and the part where she is treated so unfairly and blames her husbands for her life, all of it is nonsense and untrue folks. The author has written this book in a way that people will want to read it more and more, but the story is based on lies that may hurt certain people's faith in religion and the role of a woman. This book misleads you, has wrong facts, and the whole purpose behind this book, to make money, to show something exciting, different, and wild. But doing so doesn't mean you can change the whole story around. History has been trample and toyed and bended in many ways, it's changing constantly, and the author is doing the same thing. I loved watching Mahabharat, by B.R Chopra, in which Drapaudi is a pure, divine, fiery and truthful and faithful and respectful to society and her family, but this author just ruined the image of her in my mind, she has modernized the story, truly terrible, not a book to read. Don't waste your time with this book, you might as well just watch a soap opera instead.

s
SKTRIVEDI
Jul 14, 2014

Extremely well-written. I kept trying to find the part where Panchaali bathes her hair in blood but I never found it - which was a bit anti-climactic given all the build-up. Other than that, I loved it!!!

forbesrachel Apr 14, 2013

Panchaali is extremely likeable, not content with the life style set upon her because she is a woman, she constantly seeks to escape its confines, to learn new things, and go out into the world. She never stops thinking, and there is a clear progression as she grows older. Her motivations and frustrations are easy to understand as the author takes the time to explain the culture and it's beliefs. In the background is Krishna, incarnation of Vishnu, who is there to tease and teach Panchaali with his riddles and wisdom. As for the story, there is a constant focus on the idea of the consequences of ones actions. Whether by reflecting on it, or noting it as a future lesson learned, or through regret, Panchaali speaks to them all, including the actions of others. Despite how depressing this tale may seem, it never feels so, it feels more thoughtful, a tale of the triumphs and mistakes of men and women, and the lessons learned.

m
msgsuvitha
Dec 17, 2011

Good read. Thoroughly enjoyed the book.

g
gundu_z
Dec 13, 2010

This is a very well written book, capturing the essence of the epic of Mahabharata from the view point of Draupadi, the main protagonist. Her thought processes and motivations are quite plausible. The book holds and captures the reader from the get go, which is all I care about in a book. There may be some deviations from the "accepted" version of the epic, but, since there are so many versions of the episodes in the Mahabharata, I am not too miffed about it.

j
jbeckber
Aug 12, 2008

I really like this author, having discovered her with the short story collection "Arranged Marriage". This book is well written, however it took me some rereading to keep all of the names in line! There are a lot of characters, and the names are Indian which was difficult for me. But I liked the stiry overall and the concept - retelling of a legend from the point of view of one of the femaile characters.

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