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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.
Now I know a little about the Indian mutiny of the nineteenth century. I am now Interested in learning more.Published 6 days ago by shafi jourabchi
This is a one location book. But, there is some traveling and a stopover in Calcutta to take us to the the prominent location of the book. Read morePublished 26 days ago by L. Howard
The second book in the "Empire Trilogy" and a very good read in it's own right. I'm really glad that I found this author and trilogy of novels. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cphe
… is one of the themes of JG Farrell’s Booker Prize winning novel, as indicated by Pankaj Mishra in the introduction. But there were numerous other themes that also resonated. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John P. Jones III
As a story and character development a rip roaring adventure story. It is however infected with revisionist history and placing later modern values as a viable option in the Age... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Old dog
Read it read it read it read it read it read it read it read it read it ( is that twenty words yet?)Published 4 months ago by J. Houghton
Ironic, profound, comic novel, great writing, good for anyone interested in the decline of the British East India Company in the 19th century.Published 4 months ago by jane
A fascinating reading of the colonial British in India at about 1887, backed up in an isolated outpost during the rise of the sepoys. Read morePublished 4 months ago by sparrow