Renee (Murfreesboro TN)
Palace Of Illusions
This book was a fabulous book. I read it all in one setting. It was well written and interesting to be thrown into another culture's myths and beliefs. It was fascinating. The author used foreshadowing often, because of all those hints I was dying to devour the book, I wanted to know what happened! The main character, Panchaali, was really fun to get to know, she was strong and personable. I would recommend this book to book clubs because there are many ideas and topics that can spring people into conversation. Honestly, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good book with adventure, culture and love.
Nancy C. Cullinan (Santa Barbara, CA)
The Palace of Illusions was my introduction to Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's work, and it was a pleasure to read. Her book definitely qualifies for what I call the "under the covers with a flashlight" award. Let me stress that I value my sleep, but so as not to disturb my hubby, I found myself clutching the flashlight for just a few more pages of magical, mystical, delightful story-telling before I drifted off to sleep. I'm eager to read everything else she has written.
Heatherhe (Orlando FL)
A Beautifully Moving Saga
It was with great pleasure that I dove into Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and upon reading it, I was not disappointed. I have read nearly all of Divakaruni's books, and this is just another in a long line of colorful, magical, and insightful offerings from this author. The story is the tale of the life of Panchaali, an Indian historical/mythical character from the famous Mahabharat. The book is filled with touches of magical realism and character portrayals that will keep the reader engaged and craving more of the story. The story has much to say about the awful destruction that war wreaks upon its participants, and also contains many illuminating passages speculating the divine in everyday life. The last passages are hauntingly beautiful, and remarkably moving. If you are looking for a flavorful yet unconventional re-telling of some of India's most marvelous stories, you can't go wrong with this gem of a book. Highly recommended.
Anne (Fredonia WI)
Magic and Mystery in the Palace of Illusions
The Palace of Illusions is full of magic and imagery as only Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni can create. Her style of magical realism rivals those of the Latin American writers, establishing a new genre of Indian mysticism. The novel is a retelling of an ancient Indian text, but has all of the elements of a modern tale, sure to become a classic in its own right.
Marie-Jeanne (New Orleans LA)
Palace of Illusions
Although I am a great fan of mythology, folk tales, and fairy tales, I am not very familiar with the stories of Hinduism. This book was a wonderful introduction, and I will be seeking out more.
I hope Ms. Divakaruni chooses to retell other stories from this tradition, as this book grabbed me from the beginning. I stayed awake until around 3:00 a.m. for two nights because I couldn't stop reading until my eyes just wouldn't stay open.
Panchaali is a fascinating character, full of contrasts. Born in fire and dying in ice. Filled with unrequited love and hatred for the same person. As we follow her tale of ambition and revenge, we learn of the dangers of hubris that results in destruction of a world.
I highly recommend this book for anyone with a taste for romance, adventure, magic, and fully developed characters. There is so much here that a book group could discuss it for several sessions.
Elise (Macedonia OH)
Entertaining and Meaningful
The Palace of Illusions is a mythological story that takes place in ancient India (roughly 6000 to 5000 BCE). As in Greek mythology, the lives of humans and gods intersect and magic occurs daily. The author does such an excellent job of pulling you so deep into the story line that the impossible no longer seems so. It was a time when everything was magic – the sunrise, moon, stars, weather – everything! I would highly recommend The Palace of Illusions because, not only was it entertaining, but has many deeper messages interwoven. Having recently lost my father, the author’s passages dealing with death brought me great comfort. The book also made me reflect on my personal relationships and our roles in each other’s “life story”. Some of the ideas presented in this book will stay with me a long time.
Beverly Grindeland (Stratford CT)
The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakuruni
This was an interesting well-written story. Although it is a little
difficult to follow the plot without some knowledge of the story of
the "Mahabharata", which has been called the national epic of India. I looked up the story of the Mahabharata on the Internet (Google it) and found several sites with a good synopsis. The author has done a good job of giving voices to these mythical
The Palace of Illusions is a good example of why I love to read Historical Fiction. It was interesting to read and I was informed of something I didn't know before reading the book.