The Mahabharat is an epic poem that tells the tale of the Pandava and Kaurava families and their rivalry for the throne of Hastinapur. The author uses that poem as the basis for her retelling, imagining the story from the view point of Panchaali, the woman who was the wife of the five Pandava brothers.
Divakaruni expertly brings together the stories of the two families, effortlessly weaving history, mythology and magic together into a fantastical retelling of this tale. Reminiscent of the story of Homer, here too the gods live and intermingle with the people on earth. The writing is so well done that we soon accept the magic and interaction with the gods as normal.
Panchaali's story is fascinating and complex. Born in fire and told that her destiny is to change the world she is always wondering what it is she is meant to do. When her desire for revenge sets a course of action that ends in devastation she realizes that she does indeed change history, but not necessarily for the better.
At times I had a little difficulty with the names in the book as they were sometimes very similar, but I soon was able to follow the story line and was captivated by Panchaali, even when she was sometimes petty or whiny. I read through the last half of the book in one sitting, I had to know how everything turned out. I loved the ending; it was the perfect finish to a wonderful story.
A fascinating look at Indian mythology from a woman's perspective. The story pulls you in as it weaves its way through the history of the clans.
I fell in love with this book. Not only was I able to learn more about a vibrant and intricate religious tradition--but I also got to hear these stories through the eyes of a strong and passionate woman. This retelling places women at the center of the epic. I was inspired by Panchaali--her fire and her determination and her loyalty and her pride--and enthralled by her complicated relationship with the men in her lifeher brother, her 5 husbands, the man she loves, secretly, more than any of them, and the god Vishnu, incarnated as Krishna. The depictions of love, war, loyalty, hate, pride, jealousy, hope, pain, gods, and human beingsin all their follyare captivating. This is the kind of work that all women should read--We are every bit the fighters and the heroes that the men in epic stories assert themselves as, as well as the glue that holds families and love together.