The Palace of Illusions By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Genre: Fiction, Mythology
Date Completed: 10th July, 2012
Overall Rating: 4/5
The palace of illusions is narration of Mahabharat in first person with the author trying to see the things how Draupadi would have seen all the events during her life time and how she would be the cause of such time turning historical events.
The author has narrated the story of Panchali, who later on was named as Draupadi. The narration begins with the birth of panchali from the sacrifice fires with her brother Dhrishtidyuman. Her life as a child, her pride, her anger, her expectations, her dreams, her curiosity is explained beautifully in the book. The events of her life which subsequently are influential in changing the history are very simply described in a way that the reader understands how things are not in our full control. Even  when Draupadi knew what she could get into because of her rudeness, even when Vyasa Rishi had warned her that what could happen in the future, she was not able to control anything.
She grows into a young lady and the time of her marriage comes. The events which are known to everyone are described in a way which noone might have thought of till now. How she felt when she was married to five brothers, when she had to leave the palace and live in a forest. Her feelings for Karna are the most beautifully narrated in the book. 
The time continues to unfold the events and the great war of Mahabharat happens. The loss, the urge to undo things but inability to do it, seeing millions of people dying and knowing that you are the reason for everything and history will blame you for all this. the surprises and the mysteries which reveal themselves at appropriate time, all these things are written with utmost care in the book.
My views: 
The book is beautifully written by a female author who was able to interpret and describe how a woman feels. Draupadi’s life, her anxiety, her feelings, her emotions are beautifully described in the book. As the epic is known to everyone, it becomes even more difficult to hold on the the reader as there is very little which would surprise them and it is equally difficult to control the length of the book as describing events from a epic and choosing which one to avoid. But these things are handled nicely in the book. Just one thing which disturbed me as a reader was the lack of dialogues. I didn’t expect dialogues like in a play but Draupadi could have given some sentences to speak. Through out the book it seems that Draupadi only thinks, she does not talk at all as if she is a mute character. 
Overall, a must read book.Its like seeing epic Mahabharat by BR Chopra with a new angle.

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