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Students of history will recognize 1857 as the year of the Sepoy rebellion in India--an uprising of native soldiers against the British, brought on by Hindu and Muslim recruits' belief that the rifle cartridges they were provided had been greased with pig or cow fat. This seminal event in Anglo-Indian relations provides the backdrop for J.G. Farrell's Booker Prize-winning exploration of race, culture, and class, The Siege of Krishnapur.
Like the mysteriously appearing chapatis, life in British India seems, on the surface, innocuous enough. Farrell introduces us gradually to a large cast of characters as he paints a vivid portrait of the Victorians' daily routines that are accompanied by heat, boredom, class consciousness, and the pursuit of genteel pastimes intended for cooler climates. Even the siege begins slowly, with disquieting news of massacres in cities far away. When Krishnapur itself is finally attacked, the Europeans withdraw inside the grounds of the Residency where very soon conditions begin to deteriorate: food and water run out, disease is rampant, people begin to go a little mad. Soon the very proper British are reduced to eating insects and consorting across class lines. Farrell's descriptions of life inside the Residency are simultaneously horrifying and blackly humorous. The siege, for example, is conducted under the avid eyes of the local populace, who clearly anticipate an enjoyable massacre and thus arrive every morning laden with picnic lunches (plainly visible to the starving Europeans). By turns witty and compassionate, The Siege of Krishnapur comprises the best of all fictional worlds: unforgettable characters, an epic adventure, and at its heart a cultural clash for the ages. Quite simply, this is a splendid novel. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is Farrell's "Empire" series, three books illuminating different aspects of the fall of the British empire. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Timothy Hallinan
This is a wonderfully insightful novel. The writing style is quite unique and enjoyable. The characters are beautifully drawn. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michele Weiss
This is a great read for anyone interested in the British Raj in India.Published 2 months ago by J. Gordon Scott III
A good read for history majors, maybe, but pretty boring for literature majors.Published 3 months ago by Terry P. Rizzuti
While very interesting this book reads more like a factual account of the situation than a fictional one. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Regina
I did not realise that this book was a spoof. Krishnapur does not exist. However, despite my disappointment the book was quite amusing, quirky and pretty well writtenPublished 6 months ago by Paul Buck
Recently on a narrative journey to Co. Bantry in Ireland with the late author Brian Moore, where he writes about a young American poet in search of his ancestry, his novel led me... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Pippin O' Rohan
Set in India during the days of the British East India Company, before British Government control, residents find themselves in retreat before a Sepoy mutiny. Read morePublished 7 months ago by EB