The Siege of Krishnapur

#1 May 21st, 2010, 11:59
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#1
Has anybody read this book by JG Farrell? The book has been in the news lately; as far as I can gather the author was denied a Booker Prize because of the rules in place at the time. Newspapers say that it is a fine read set in the lead up to the 1857 Mutiny/ War of Independence (take your pick).
I had never heard of it before but am heading out to the bookshop to scope one out now!
#2 Nov 23rd, 2010, 08:51
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I'm halfway through the Krishnapur novel and finding the satire most entertaining. The book as a piece of fun seems intended for a non-Indian reader as the main characters are British and the one Indian character of note, Hari the Maharajah's son, is possibly derived from J R Ackerley's "Hindoo Holiday". Still, Indians today may be amused by accounts of imperialist folly. Farrell, from a quick google search, never visited India. The inspiration for this historical romp appears taken from accounts of 1857 and subsequent Mutiny fiction.

The Victorian era sentiments of the characters are accurately expressed at least to this reader, a non-historian. The Padre's exposition of intelligent-design during the sepoy attack is hilarious. Of course this view of life is again in debate.

The book is just the thing for in-flight reading. Thanks to Keith H for introducing J G Farrell to IndiaMike.

J G Farrell won the 1973 Booker Prize for "The Siege of Krishnapur" and was this year posthumously awarded the "lost" Booker Prize for "Troubles".
#3 Nov 24th, 2010, 10:39
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There has been an "Indian EPZ edition" paperback of "The Siege of Krishnapur". I don't know whether EPZ editions are sold in India.
Perhaps an IM contributor can tell me.

I wonder if Indian readers were much interested in Raj nostalgia fiction. William Dalrymple has written of British times being "a
period few Indians look back at with any nostalgia".
#4 Nov 24th, 2010, 11:04
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I don't know that I'd call it nostalgic? Period, of course, but not exactly glorifying the raj.

I very much enjoyed his three British-rule (India, Ireland and Singapore) books. The first two I read some years ago; the Singapore one I only discovered recently.
#5 Nov 25th, 2010, 08:40
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I finished "The Siege of Krishnapur" with real enjoyment and have started "The Singapore Grip". The latter was a title I first noticed in a Penang bookshop early this year. I almost bought it but then thought the writing overly drawn out. Happily my local library has several of Farrell's books.
#6 Nov 25th, 2010, 22:25
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Do read Troubles, then, the Irish volume.

The Singapore book was my least favourite, but I read it only very recently, so I can't say for sure how I would find the others now. Still well worth reading, and it taught me a lot about how colonial economics worked.

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