Mahima Mukherjee reviews Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Palace of Illusions and observes how the author puts a captivating spin on this great epic by narrating it from Draupadi’s perspective – the woman who had started it all.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an Indian-American author, poet, and Betty and Gene McDavid Professor of Writing at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. Known widely for her exemplary work, “ The Palace of Illusions”, she has received several awards – the Crawford Award (1998) and The American Book Award (1996), The O’Henry Prize Stories, San Francisco Chronicle’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Her work has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize Anthology.
She currently lives in Houston with her husband Murthy and two sons – Anand and Abhay- and keeps in frequent contact with her readers through her social media platforms.
The Mahabharata is an awe-inspiring and timeless epic that has achieved a degree of sacrality in the Indian context. Since time immemorial, it has successfully glorified righteous warfare, protection of family honour and an unwavering devotion to one’s elders. In her book The Palace of Illusions, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni puts a captivating spin on this great epic by narrating it from Draupadi’s perspective – the woman who had started it all.