May 05, 2008

Palace of Illusions.

Like many of Chitra Divakaruni's books, this book also treats us to a rich variety of stories, riddles, hints, colorful characters and mysterious happenings! And how can it not be all of this and more, considering that it's the tale of Mahabharatha narrated by a different voice - the strong-willed, adamant, beautiful and unpredictable Draupadi herself?!

I finished the book in a day and as always it filled me with questions and curiosity; parts of the book surprised if not shocked me. I had to adjust to Krishna being portrayed as a simple, at times mysterious, friend and confidant, that conversations between him and Draupadi were like any that we would have in our lives, not necessarily full of God-talk, for lack of a better word :) The events and emotions that tie together Draupadi and Karna are heart-wrenching, powerful and unexpected (and imagined, I would guess), almost making me wish their destinies had turned out differently, at times, I wished the story had turned out differently, yearning to see a happy resolution for their confusions...but then such is the charm of Divakaruni's writing, her ability to make the reader identify with the characters, look inside their hearts and hurt, laugh, cry with them.

And she has kept up her word regarding the portrayal of women in this book. This is definitely a tale of strong women that changed the course of history, not necessarily hovering in the shadow, but walking proudly in the forefront, hand-in-hand with their men...a tale of Gods and saints, pride and vanity, smiles and tears.

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