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The Palace of Illusions

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,176 Ratings  ·  1,318 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 January 1st 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)
Ritika Goswami Factually it is very confusing to be sure. There are many instances in Mahabharat that has been depicted in various ways in various places. but…moreFactually it is very confusing to be sure. There are many instances in Mahabharat that has been depicted in various ways in various places. but considering the fact in this book...well... I guess Draupadi was the hostess and even though she didn't laugh directly but she did smile when her servant laughed and thus supporting her. This can be considered as Draupadi making fun herself as she was the hostess. Now i guess the exact way of Draupadi making fun is quite unknown as are the all other incidences of Mahabharat(less)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.

Syl  ʃʃ^.^ʃʃ
Apr 02, 2011 Syl ʃʃ^.^ʃʃ 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
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
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
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
Feb 10, 2011 Anila 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
Dec 06, 2009 Weni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dulu saya membaca Mahabharata RA Kosasih. Lalu saya membaca Mahabharata versi Rajagopalachari. Dan buku ini adalah Mahabharata versi Divakaruni.

Kisah mahabharata Divakaruni tidak terlalu berbeda dengan Rajagopalachari. Yang membuatnya menarik (setidaknya buat saya) adalah kita diajak untuk melihat mahabharata dari mata dan perasaan seorang Drupadi. Putri Drupada yang biasanya dihadirkan sebagai sisipan cerita, pada buku ini menjadi tokoh sentral. 'Aku' dalam kisah ini adalah Drupadi sehingga kit
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
Jan 10, 2014 Vijai rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-ok
How do you take a story told a million times for centuries and still make it interesting? craft is the answer. It takes an author of phenomenal capabilities to mould a story such as Mahabharatha with an unique perspective.

Truth be told, the reason I got interested in reading this was because of the whole Draupadi-Karna angle and I wasn't wrong. The raw love-anger tension that the author creates between the two is just beautiful.

Read this book for the crafting, an interesting perspective and be
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,
May 27, 2008 PC rated it really liked it
I liked this version of the Mahabharata told from the point of view of Draupadi despite its many shortcomings - the length of only 367 pages of course cannot do justice to a four volume epic. Some scenes that I would expect to be fully fleshed out to a microscopic degree (the disrobing, the year of exile, her year of marriage to Arjuna) are glossed over, and much attention is given to Draupadi's feelings towards Karna - understandable, because Divakaruni utilizes both unrequited love and the tit ...more
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
Nov 17, 2009 Uci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bertahun-tahun lalu, kisah Mahabarata sempat menjadi obsesi yang tidak kesampaian. Saya sudah keburu menyerah untuk mengingat-ingat silsilah keluarga, nama asli dan nama alias, peristiwa yang susul-menyusul. Akhirnya buku dan majalah pewayangan yang sempat saya beli, tak pernah tuntas saya baca.

Membaca The Palace of Illusions, saya jadi teringat akan obsesi lama itu. Beruntung di tangan Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, tokoh-tokoh dalam kisah ini jadi punya 'nyawa' sehingga saya tidak kesulitan untuk
May 28, 2013 Ramblifixion rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 28, 2012 Meetu rated it liked it
The Palace of Illusions retells the Mahabharata from the point of view of Draupadi. The name itself refers to the palace owned by Draupadi after her marriage to the pandavas, and perhaps also alludes to the folly of identifying with one's worldly existence.

This is a book that should appeal to those of us whose childhood was spent listening to or reading about Indian mythology and who are not insistent on superior wordsmithing. The narration here is fairly straightforward. While the author gives
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Is this book worth reading? 7 30 Oct 24, 2015 02:19PM  
International Reads: April 2015 - The Palace of Illusions 4 88 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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