The book, The Palace of Illusions is in the shortest explanation, Mahabharata as seen from Draupadi’s perspective. The book showcases the characters in a human avatar rather than as gods and powerful beings in the actual mythology.
The book takes us through Draupadi’s journey, how she came to possess her home, also known as The Palace of Illusions, and her journey to losing it and her long exile and the great Mahabharata war and its consequences.
As you progress with the book, you see Draupadi as this woman who is the most real and human of the lot.
Divakaruni’s book too does not sing praises of Draupadi. Divakaruni brings to you Draupadi, the human. She is shown as more than the woman who was portrayed in mythology as a woman who was wronged, who was disrobed by Dushasan.
Draupadi is flawed, like every one of us. She has hues of greed, jealousy, and arrogance, 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 have 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.
Read from Draupadi’s perspective, her journey from an innocent, indulgent childhood to becoming the wife of five husbands to becoming the mother of five sons and the cause of immeasurable grief of lakhs of mothers and sisters, is moving and at times heart-rending.Read from Draupadi's perspective, her journey from an innocent, indulgent childhood to becoming the wife of five husbands to becoming the mother of five sons. @cdivakaruni Click To Tweet
The author has skillfully dealt with the myriad of emotions that a woman goes through and that makes the book stand apart. It is a book you will want to finish in one sitting, so engrossing this is.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her themes include the Indian experience, contemporary America, women, immigration, history, myth, and the joys and challenges of living in a multicultural world. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 29 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Hindi and Japanese. Divakaruni also writes for children and young adults.Her novels One Amazing Thing, Oleander Girl, Sister of My Heart and Palace of Illusions are currently in the process of being made into movies.
She was born in India and lived there until 1976, at which point she left Calcutta and came to the United States. She continued her education in the field of English by receiving a Master’s degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
To earn money for her education, she held many odd jobs, including babysitting, selling merchandise in an Indian boutique, slicing bread in a bakery, and washing instruments in a science lab. At Berkeley, she lived in the International House and worked in the dining hall. She briefly lived in Illinois and Ohio, but has spent much of her life in Northern California, which she often writes about. She now lives in Texas, which has found its way into her upcoming book, Before We Visit the Goddess.