I am not really a fan of keeping up with the trend of reading only the famous works. Most of the readers would relate to that. This one when it was released there was a whole new wave of retelling myths through the voices of the unvoiced characters. Well sort of!
A mythology enthusiast, I have been reading about Indian mythology among others for a few years now. This retelling of Mahabharat definitely gave the epic a different angle.
The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The amazing heroine, Panchali aka Draupadi, the daughter of King Draupad tells us the story of her legendary life. Born out of fire she was cheated off real young and married to the Pandavas– the five brothers. Soon she becomes an indispensable part of their journey where she accompanies them to the exile and support them through the turmoils to get back what belongs to them. All the while she is seen bending the epic reality by letting the reader re-imagine Mahabharat. Her intelligible ways to interact with her mother-in-law, her secret passionate infatuation towards her husband’s enemy and her special friendship with Krishna- they are all put together into a gripping fiction work by the author.
Now for us Indians, a big portion of our lives are molded by this tale; I swear on Gita! That’s the exact reason why it never gets old.
While reading this book, I also realized how the author has beautifully worked out two things very well. First, of course the re-imagination of the manipulating nature of goodness (what an irony!). Second, one can easily take reference of the different present day situations the humans has to offer to each other.
Divakaruni wrote the book with fantastic use of words that will really keep her readers engaged till the end. It will definitely intrigue a lot of question about the unfair and war torn state of society, then and how you can relate it all to the present. She is an awesome writer and I can’t wait to read more of her works.