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The Singapore Grip (New York Review Books…
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The Singapore Grip (New York Review Books Classics) (original 1978; edition 2005)

by J.G. Farrell, Derek Mahon (Introduction)

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5531518,067 (3.97)176
Member:Marensr
Title:The Singapore Grip (New York Review Books Classics)
Authors:J.G. Farrell
Other authors:Derek Mahon (Introduction)
Info:NYRB Classics (2005), Paperback, 584 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Fiction, British, NYRB

Work details

The Singapore Grip by J. G. Farrell (1978)

  1. 00
    The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell (anzlitlovers)
    anzlitlovers: The Siege of Krishnapur won the Booker Prize in 1973
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There is much to recommend this book but ultimately it is just too long. The last 100 pages or so drag terribly. The characters all stay exactly the same despite extraordinary circumstances which makes the book particularly lacking in suspense. Strange for a wartime novel. ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
This is in some ways a book of two halves - it starts with the pre-war Singapore life, full of cocktails, business decisions and unsuitable love affairs. The second half is the chaos of war as all this collapses and Singapore eventually falls. It's a long leisurely book with lots of dark humour and slapstick comedy amongst the more serious historical reimagining. The later sections when they are literally firefighting are really vivid, but some of the military tactics sections were a bit over my head. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Oct 9, 2015 |
I enjoyed this epic, richly detailed and humorous reimagining of the fall of Singapore hugely. Since reading it I can't see a mangy dog without being reminded of "The Human Condition". This might be a bit daunting as an introduction to Farrell - Troubles and the Siege of Krishnapur are easier, but it is fully deserving of its place among my favourites. Nobody escapes the savage satire. ( )
1 vote bodachliath | Nov 11, 2014 |
The long time this has been on my 'currently reading' shelf reflects the difficulty I had getting it read. It's not just that it's long (longer than GoodReads says - my copy of this edition is 672 pages) but that it's dense, and it's not just that it's dense, but that it seems unnecessarily so. As always, the problem may be with me, not the book, but I could have done without the detailed accounts (however wry) of military strategizing especially: after a while the book felt weighed down by Farrell's extensive research (signaled in the acknowledgements and the included bibliography). Otherwise, The Singapore Grip has a lot in common with the other two books in the Empire Trilogy: it's a bleakly comic snapshot of a disintegrating world, featuring characters who can't quite understand what's happening to them. Farrell is very good at capturing this particular milieu, and also at setting up characters who, despite their inevitable ineptitude (who, after all, can win in a struggle against 'the spirit of the age'?) are somehow endearing. It was nice to see the Major again.
  rmaitzen | Feb 7, 2014 |
Can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to discovering this book. I loved it. Political, satirical, historical. Can't wait to read the other two in his Empire trilogy. ( )
  katie | Apr 7, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Bob and Kathie Parrish
First words
The city of Singapore was not built up gradually, the way most cities are, by a natural deposit of commerce on the banks of some river or at a traditional confluence of trade routes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A love story and a war story, a tragicomic tale of a besieged city, colonial Singapore and a dying way of life for the protaganist, Walter Blackett,head of British colony, Singapore's oldest and most powerful business company.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 000616014X, Paperback)

Singapore, 1939: life on the eve of World War II just isn't what it used to be for Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. No matter how forcefully the police break one strike, the natives go on strike somewhere else. His daughter keeps entangling herself with the most unsuitable beaus, while her intended match, the son of Blackett's partner, is an idealistic sympathizer with the League of Nations and a vegetarian. Business may be booming—what with the war in Europe, the Allies are desperate for rubber and helpless to resist Blackett's price-fixing and market manipulation—but something is wrong. No one suspects that the world of the British Empire, of fixed boundaries between classes and nations, is about to come to a terrible end.

 

A love story and a war story, a tragicomic tale of a city under siege and a dying way of life, The Singapore Grip completes the “Empire Trilogy” that began with Troubles and the Booker prize-winning Siege of Krishnapur.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Singapore, 1939: life on the eve of World War II just isn't what it used to be for Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. No matter how forcefully the police break one strike, the natives go on strike somewhere else. His daughter keeps entangling herself with the most unsuitable beaus, while her intended match, the son of Blackett's partner, is an idealistic sympathizer with the League of Nations and a vegetarian. Business may be booming?what with the war in Europe, the Allies are desperate for rubber and helpless to resist Blackett's price-fixing and market manipulation?but something is wrong. No one suspects that the world of the British Empire, of fixed boundaries between classes and nations, is about to come to a terrible end"--Publisher's description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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