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Siege of Krishnapur

Farrell, J. G. (James Gordon)

ISBN 10: 0297765809 / ISBN 13: 9780297765806
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1973
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First UK edition of this scarce Booker Prize winner. Book is near fine with light tanning to the page block with several tiny nicks and faint spots to the long edge and bruising to the heel of the spine. The complete dustwrapper has some wear to the edges, one 1/4 inch. closed tear to the lower back panel. A very good-looking copy. Bookseller Inventory # 1305220016

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Siege of Krishnapur

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Publication Date: 1973

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Victorian life in India -- the clash between two great civilizations, a cauldron of human drama--was perhaps the most deeply romantic expression of life in all the modern age. We are forever fascinated.

This award-winning novel concerns the events surrounding the Sepoy uprising of 1857. A young Englishman becomes an unlikely hero when he finds himself at the center of a political whirlwind. By turns caustic and compassionate, written with sardonic wit but displaying a passionate sympathy, this novel of splendid characters and emotionally charged events fully deserves its reputation as a masterpiece.%

Review:

"The first sign of trouble at Krishnapur came with a mysterious distribution of chapatis, made of coarse flour and about the size and thickness of a biscuit; towards the end of February 1857, they swept the countryside like an epidemic."

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

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