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The Palace of Illusions

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  14,445 Ratings  ·  1,519 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by Doubleday (first published 2008)
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Sanjay Narayanan That is correct, and there are many versions to this. One of them is that Drupada is outraged on hearing about their demise and goes to the sage who…moreThat is correct, and there are many versions to this. One of them is that Drupada is outraged on hearing about their demise and goes to the sage who predicted that his daughter would marry Arjuna. The sage reassures him that his prediction would come true, and advises him to hold the swayamvara.
Another version says that Krishna goes to Drupada, hinting that Arjuna and the pandavas are still alive, and suggests that he have a test in the swayamvara that only an archer of the highest skill would be able to pass.
There may be other versions as well, and I'm not a master of this epic. So I suppose if you're in my place, just keep an open mind and enjoy reading.(less)
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Richard Derus
Apr 09, 2013 Richard Derus rated it it was amazing
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud!

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Mar 17, 2009 Aastha rated it it was amazing
I was intrigued as soon as I heard the plot of The Palace of Illusions, and I knew I was going to like it right away. I think Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni deserves three out of the five stars I gave her just for thinking of the idea itself. The Mahabharata has been part of India's ancient culture and history for the past 3000 years, and yet no one ever thought of narrating the epic from a different point of view.

Of course, I personally cheered at her choice of Draupadi as her narrator, having give
“A woman is not a touch but a response to it”

----Pratibha Ray

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, an Indian best selling novelist, has penned an extremely emotional and gripping mythological-cum-historical-fiction novel, The Palace of Illusions that narrates the great epic Indian mythological tale, Mahabharata from the point of view of the most brilliant and fearless female character, Draupadi, who weaves her thoroughly soul touching yet enduring life story starting from the day she was born to the day
Sep 23, 2010 Mery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mery by: e.c.h.a
Shelves: punya
Aku selalu suka sama kisah yang mengangkat sudut pandang berbeda dari seorang perempuan. Dan Drupadi ini dengan sukses telah menghipnotisku dengan kehidupannya yang penuh liku-liku...

Drupadi adalah titisan Dewi Agni, yang diramalkan akan mengubah sejarah...
Pada bab-bab awal Putri drupadi diramalkan bahwa dia akan menikah dengan lima pahlawan besar pada zamannya, akan menjadi ratu dari segala ratu, dicemburui para dewi. Akan menyebabkan perang terbesar, kematian kakak dan anak-anaknya, akan menye
Aug 24, 2008 Crystal rated it liked it
Just a petty complaint:
I'm in the middle of this book and have a strong enough sense of the story to be able to make a heart felt plea: enough of the blatant foreshadowing! It's as if the author has no other creative or subtle use of language to hint at things to come. It always involves the last sentence of the chapter, starting with the end of Chapter 1, "I didn't know then how sorely that love would be tested, or how much it would cost both of us", "I didn't know that I'd never see this fragr
Vani Vani
Jul 18, 2015 Vani Vani rated it really liked it
‘Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni had been on my TBR list for years, but honestly, I wasn’t sure it was for me. As I review it today, I have only myself to blame. I was totally swept over by Chitra’s prose, mesmerized by the conviction with which she writes the story of one of the most complex characters of Mahabharata, that too, in first person. Kudos to the author for successfully presenting a fast paced compendium of this epic Indian text, which as it happens, is also one of ...more
Mia Prasetya
Bisa dibilang saya merasa beruntung bisa membaca buku seindah ini. Terlebih lagi sedari SD ayah saya yang juga pecinta buku rutin menghadiahi saya buku Mahabrata karangan R.A Kosasih. Kaget juga karena di usia saya yang sekarang, kurang lebih 20 tahun lewat sejak pertama kali mengenal tokoh Pandawa lima, ternyata saya masih mengingat garis besar kisah Mahabrata ini

Istana khayalan benar-benar membuat saya berkhayal jauh, seakan-akan saya ikut berada dalam Hastinapura, ikut bersimpati dengan Drop
Mar 20, 2010 Thesunan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: goodreaders
Recommended to Thesunan by: dapet minjem dari mumut
buku pinjaman dari tante Mumut.. :)

PROLOG (boleh dilewat soalnya rada2 OOT :D)
Pertama kali saya tahu ada cerita tentang Mahabrata adalah waktu saya SD, film Mahabrata pada waktu itu ditayangkan oleh salah satu stasiun televise swasta, yang memang dulu sempat mendapat julukan sebagai Televisi Pilem India, soalnya stasiun televisi tersebut sering menayangkan film India. Namun saya sendiri kurang tahu tentang sejarah cerita tersebut, hanya beberapa tokoh saj
Feb 15, 2010 e.c.h.a rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mbak Mia, Momo Ivashkov

Buku ini telah memikatku dalam banyak hal:

Pertama, Cover yang menarik. Yup, terkadang mata saya suka sekali dengan keindahan cover suatu buku. Perpaduan warnanya seperti membawa saya ke Istana Khayalan. Cover aselinya juga keren..I Love Green :)

Kedua, tokoh utamanya yaitu Drupadi. Saya suka Drupadi. Saya mengenal sosoknya saat membaca Mahabharata. Yang sedikit diceritakan *plus saya skimming juga* tapi sukses meninggalkan bekas di hati.

Ketiga, kata pembuka yang dikutip Divakaruni
Harun Harahap
Mar 18, 2010 Harun Harahap rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Harun Harahap by: e.c.h.a
Shelves: punya, fiksi, terjemahan
--------------Mengandung spoiler kisah cinta-cintaaannya-------------

”Masalah hanya menjadi masalah kalau kau percaya itu masalah. Seseorang melihatmu seperti kau melihat dirimu sendiri.”

“Kekuatan keyakinan seorang merembes kepada orang sekitarnya-ke dalam tanah, udara, dan air-sampai tak ada lainya.”

Itu hanya beberapa kutipan-kutipan menarik yang banyak disajikan di dalam buku ini. Halaman depan yang sangat indah membuat diri saya tak sabar membuka lembaran demi lembaran dan menikmati isnya. Da
My memory often tends to fail me when it concerns my childhood but I distinctly remember illustrated Indian books, a splurge of my parents hoping it would instill many virtues, sprawled on my bed waiting to be read. With time, I started to develop an interest on my own towards works like the Panchatantra, Jataka Tales, Amar Chitra Katha, i.e., just about anything that had conversing animals or a touch of mythology in it. These books are unique in the fact that at the end of the story, they have ...more
Lubinka Dimitrova
Beautifully written and captivating... And the stories... Ah, the stories... They reminded me of the reason I've always loved indian mythology. This was a really satisfying book.
Aug 15, 2012 Charu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book at its centre is Draupadi's version of Mahabharat. When I picked this book, I wasn’t too sure, if would relish a book on – battles, power-play, politics, adrenaline-filled glory and carnage. But the authoress had done a tremendous job of capturing the essence of the epic in the form of a story. The authoress had bereft the characters of divine, virtuous status and made them very real and human, which makes it very easy to follow, despite the complexities in the leading characters.

hmm.. saya merindukan seseorang seraya membaca buku ini..

Divakaruni memperkenalkan Mahabaratha kepada saya
Kisah yang saya ingat pernah ditayangkan di stasiun Televisi Perdangdutan Indonesia, itu pun hanya bagian lagu pembuka nya saja..

Saya mengetahui Mahabaratha hanya bahwa itu adalah kisah tentang Pandawa Lima
Itu pun sekedar nama dari kelima nya, tanpa mengetahui detail cerita seperti apa
Walaupun saya akhirnya mengetahui sedikit dari sosok "Pandawa Lima" jadi-jadian waktu kuliah..
Rosamund Hodge
Oct 01, 2012 Rosamund Hodge added it
Shelves: 2012
This novel ended up reminding me a bit of Till We Have Faces: the basic plot is "mythological woman has passionate, interesting life, eventually finds peace and enlightenment." Except that it's based not on Greek mythology but the Mahabharata, which it retells from the perspective of Draupadi/Panchaali, the princess who becomes (partly) the cause of a cataclysmic war.

I liked it quite a bit. It's a fast read, yet lyrical, and the portrayal of Krishna is fantastic, a really compelling mix of lovab
May 06, 2008 Sanjay rated it it was ok
A retelling of the Mahabharata from Draupadi's point of view sounds like it has much potential -- but this attempt is let down by trying to encompass all of the epic, and bringing in the stories of almost all the characters, instead of staying faithful to Draupadi's (feminist) viewpoint. Making it a half-baked encapsulation, instead of a re-interpretation.
Apr 02, 2011 Em rated it it was amazing
I am so so happy that I could read this book. I enjoyed every page of it. This is the story of Mahabharatha - not the full one, but a few incidents as seen through the eyes of Draupadi - the Pandava wife. This book will be best appreciated only by those who have a knowledge of the Mahabharatha - the vast Indian epic full of intrigue, mysteries, magic, politics, family obligations and the strife for attaining the Kuru throne by two set of cousins - the good Pandavas (5 brothers with one common wi ...more
Nidhi Mahajan
Dec 19, 2015 Nidhi Mahajan rated it really liked it
It is extremely difficult to comment upon the beauty of Divakaruni's words. She has attempted the enormous task of retelling the Mahabharata, one of the greatest Indian epics. The Mahabharata is often called a 'history', a record of the past composed by Vyasa. Many versions of the epic exist today and it continues to intrigue intellectual minds. Many interpretations of the Mahabharata have been attempted and Divakaruni's The Palace of Illusions is one of them.

The Place of Illusions is a retellin
Oct 28, 2014 Neha rated it really liked it
Mahabharata through the eyes of its most controversial character - Panchali or Draupadi.. Its an interesting take.. and Chitra Banerjee through her master story teller stroke has done a fair justice to it. Although at time she turns Panchali into a more complex character then she could be.

To read more, visit Storywala
Preethi Venugopala
Feb 27, 2016 Preethi Venugopala rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read from Chitra B Divakaruni.

'The Palace of Illusions' is Mahabharata seen through the eyes of Panchali, the wife of the five Pandavas. Mahabharata is an epic with many thousands of characters and side stories and narrates the story of the Kuru dynasty. The story happens in the third age of man Dvapar Yug, when the walls between the world of man and the Gods were thin. Even though I knew every twist and turn and every side story; the story when told by Panchali and
Feb 10, 2011 Kogiopsis rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books ever, and I don't say that lightly.
Now, if only Mr. Wright had ever given my copy back! (Note: Never loan a book based on the Mahabhrata to your Asian Humanities teacher. You might as well have dropped it into a black hole.)

Anyhow I'm not really sure how to describe why I love this book so. The story is beautiful, that's a large part of it. The characters are strong and well-shaped, that's another part of it. The prose is gorgeous. The setting is truly magical. The trag
Book Riot Community
A version of the Mahābhārata told from the perspective of Princess Panchāli, this did more for me that an entire semester of studying the original text for college did. Panchāli’s character is fascinating in that she is married to five brothers in the Hindu epic, and the novel talks about this with due credit to the patriarchal context.

Verdict: Buy.

from Buy, Borrow, Bypass: Hindu Mythology Retellings:
Mar 26, 2008 Anu rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of indian mythology, anyone
Shelves: finished
I think Divakurani's short stories are genius-but she ought to lay off the novels. The book wasn't terrible, but there were some ATROCIOUS anachronisms sprinkled throughout and the heavy handed feminism was a bit much. It definitely gained in narrative voice as the plot progressed.

Interesting read, but wait for the paperback, or get it out of the library.
Manu Prasad
Dec 20, 2014 Manu Prasad rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
Like I've said before, what does it say of a story when countless people, centuries later, can continue to render it in their unique way? It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who's completely enthralled by the phenomenon that is The Mahabharata. It's even more heartening when renditions are such that they do justice to the epic.
This is the Mahabharata told from the viewpoint of Draupadi, and as a reader, I could easily believe this to be indeed her autobiography. I could sense the
Anindita  S. Thayf
Nov 20, 2009 Anindita S. Thayf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sumber: Ruang Baca Koran Tempo, 25 Oktober 2009
Judul : Istana Khayalan ( The Palace of Illusions)
Penulis : Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Penerbit : Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Cetakan : I, Juli 2009
Tebal : 496 hlm

Mahabarata merupakan salah satu kanonik sastra dunia. Naskah asli Mahabarata berbentuk syair sebanyak seratus ribu stanza; delapan kali lebih panjang dibandingkan jika The Iliad dijadikan satu dengan The Odyssey. Naskah yang ditulis oleh Vyasa dalam bahasa Sanskerta ini berkisah tent
Well, I am in a conflict.
I liked the book, though in a different way .I liked the flow of the story and it kept my attention wanting for more. Though at times it felt like any other fictitious tale, and at times I had to remind myself it was mahabharata the great epic that was being narrated through the eyes of draupadi.But having said that there were a few qualms like the modern language was a bit off at times, other things like the mother in law bickering felt unnecessary, Also feminism was po
Chitra Sankar
Jun 20, 2016 Chitra Sankar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I just want to vent out about the book when I could still feel that intense. Yes, that's how you will feel once you finish the book. Actually, no worries.. It's kind of good intense :)

The book is a re-telling of Mahabharat by Draupadi, (the woman who played a major role in the WAR..!) itself..

There are lots of things about the characters of Mahabharat which I could not understand or perhaps I should say, that I never was convinced by the justification which was given in any form of Mahabharat. B
Nov 11, 2015 Darnia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, five-stars, 2015
I haven't read Mahabharat nor watched the (latest) drama in my local channel. The Mahabharat I've ever know is the one from my childhood which I forgot the story mostly. This masterpiece of Divakaruni gave us kind of spin-off of Mahabharat which put Panchali or Dropadi as our heroine. Both of Hindi's and Javanese's version of Mahabharat only put small part of women in the epic story, even though they probably became one of the reasons of Bharatayudha happened.But through this book, we would find ...more
May 25, 2012 Mahinn rated it it was ok

I don't know why I do this to myself. Why I bother with this author when book after book has been nothing but ... Wanting, for lack of a better word.

The Mahabharata is my favorite story of all time. It is every book in one book and to take on the task of retelling the story from the perspective of Draupadi is the literary equivalent of hitting a jackpot of an idea. But. Here comes Ms Bannerjee Divakaruni to ruin that wholly awesome party.

This book is shallow, trite and vapid. The protagonist,
Jun 26, 2013 Devika rated it really liked it
I started reading this one a little too late. Quite a few of my friends, and my sister, had already read most or all of it and it was nothing but inevitable that I'd be told all the spoilers. Even then, it was surprisingly refreshing to finally come across a woman's perspective on Mahabharata. The Palace of Illusions offers a passionate feminist perspective on dharma or duty that is the sole purpose of living for everyone in Hastinapur, especially Draupadi who was born to change the course of hi ...more
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Is this book worth reading? 7 36 Oct 24, 2015 02:19PM  
International Reads: April 2015 - The Palace of Illusions 4 91 Apr 07, 2015 09:57AM  
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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 ant ...more
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“Love comes like lightning, and disappears the same way. If you are lucky, it strikes you right. If not, you'll spend your life yearning for a man you can't have.” 74 likes
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