Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

!!To protect your privacy, please remember to log out when you are finished. The Log Out button is at the top of the page.!!

The palace of illusions : a novel /

Main Author:
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Doubleday, 2008
Edition: First edition.
Subjects:
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
View on New Catalog
Cover Image
Saved in:
SUMMARY

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 this ancient tale.

The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy. Panchaali is a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.


Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The double bind that torques women's lives is Divakaruni's key theme in lambent novels and short stories about women who immigrate to America from India, and the curious ways the deep past seeps into the present. Divakaruni often weaves glimmering threads from the Hindu sagas into her fiction, and now, in her twelfth book, she goes directly to the source, the Mahabharat, India's most magnificent epic, and boldly retells this Homeric tale of a battle for supremacy between two branches of a ruling dynasty--and dramatization of the internal war between emotion and reason--from the point of view of its central female character. Smart, resilient, and courageous Panchaali, born of fire, marries all five of the famously heroic Pandava brothers, harbors a secret love, endures a long exile in the wilderness, instigates a catastrophic war, and slowly learns the truth about Krishna, her mysterious friend. By rendering the women characters as complexly as the men, and fully illuminating the insanity of war and the fragility of civilization, Divakaruni's historic and transporting variation adds new and truly revelatory psychological and social dimensions to the great epic's indelible story of sacrifice and spiritual awakening. Divakaruni has triumphantly fulfilled a profound mission.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Recasting the Indian epic Mahabharata from the perspective of Princess Panchaali, veteran novelist Divakaruni (Queen of Dream) offers a vivid and inventive companion to the renowned poem. Born from fire and marked with the prophecy that she will change the course of history, the strong-willed Panchaali declares early on that she won't spend her life merely supporting the men around her. Soon enough, she bucks tradition by simultaneously wedding all five famous Pandava brothers, who have been denied their rightful kingdom, and finds herself the happy mistress of the much-envied palace of illusions. Panchaali's joy is short-lived, however, when hubris, fate and the desire for vengeance in reclaiming the Pandavas' kingdom (all also prophesied) cause her and her husbands to make mistakes that have cascading political effects, shattering peace in the region. Devastation ensues, but spiritual remarks from the divine Krishna put life and death in a cosmic context. Despite an intrusive retrospective voice ("I didn't know then how sorely...love would be tested") and a sometimes heavy-handed feminism, Divakaruni's rich, action-filled narrative contrasts well with the complex psychological portrait of a mythic princess. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

The Mahabharat, India's great Sanskrit epic, relates the struggle of the five Pandavas brothers to reclaim their father's throne. But Divakaruni retells their story from the perspective of the brothers' wife, Panchaali. With a national author tour; reading group guide. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was born in India and later moved to the United States to attend college. She earned a M. A. at Wright State University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Divakaruni held many odd jobs until she was able to become an accomplished writer. She was the president of MAITRI, a crisis hotline for female South Asian victims of domestic abuse, and is currently a professor at Foothill College in California.

Her works have been recognized in more than 50 magazines and 30 anthologies. She also has been awarded two PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Awards, a Pushcart Prize, and the Allen Ginsberg Poerty Prize. Divakaruni's books include Arranged Marriage and The Mistress of Spices. Her Title One Amazing Thing made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography) Chitra Divakaruni is the author of the bestselling novels "The Mistress of Spices" & "Sister of My Heart", the story collection "Arranged Marriage", which won several awards, including the American Book Award, & four collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in "The New Yorker", "The Atlantic Monthly", "Ms.", & other publications. Born in India, she lives in the San Francisco area.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Similar Items