Sonali was entranced by Chitra Divakaruni’s The Palace of Illusions, yet another retelling of the Mahabharat epic, this time through Panchali’s eyes. We are led through Panchali’s relationships with her brother,  Krishna and her husbands. Like Helen of Troy, Panchali’s role in the epic Mahabharat is crucial. Her decisions were instrumental in the unfolding of the war that would eventually decimate the Kauravas.  These lines summed up the whole experience for Sonali: “Perhaps that is the miracle of stories. They make us realize that we’re not alone in our folly and our suffering.”

For those who are interested in reading more about Panchali’s point of view, Apurba advised to pick up a copy of Yajnaseni by Pratibha Ray, a book that won the Sahitya Akademi Prize, translated from Oriya. Typically books which win the Sahitya Akademi are translated into twelve or more Indian languages.

At the BYOB Party, there is a huge spread of books by diverse authors and many translations are mentioned. Kshitija who had got a translated book for the last BYOB Party got a book called One Out of Two translated from Spanish by the Mexican writer Daniel Sada. The story is delightful and revolves around twin sister spinsters and their competitive streak. Kshitija enjoyed how the author has pictured sibling dynamics and though the translation can be jarring initially, particularly because Sada uses the stream of consciousness technique, once you persist, the reading experience is worth it.

More books in Part 5.