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The Siege of Krishnapur (1973)

by J. G. Farrell

Series: Empire Trilogy (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,073667,657 (4.03)543
"India, 1857 - the year of the Great Mutiny, when Muslim soldiers turned in bloody rebellion on their British overlords. This time of convulsion is the subject of J. G. Farrell's The Siege of Krishnapur, widely considered one of the finest British novels of the last fifty years." "Farrell's story is set in an isolated Victorian outpost on the subcontinent. Rumors of strife filter in from afar, and yet the members of the colonial community remain confident of their military and, above all, moral superiority. But when they find themselves under actual siege, the true character of their dominion - at once brutal, blundering, and wistful - is soon revealed." "The Siege of Krishnapur is a companion to Troubles, about the Easter 1916 rebellion in Ireland, and The Singapore Grip, which takes place just before World War II, as the sun begins to set upon the British Empire. Together these three novels offer a picture of the follies of empire."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
  1. 80
    The Singapore Grip by J. G. Farrell (kidzdoc)
    kidzdoc: The third novel in Farrell's Empire Trilogy, which is about the fall of the British Empire in 1930s Singapore.
  2. 60
    Burmese Days by George Orwell (lmichet, Philosofiction)
    lmichet: Another work of biting commentary about the British in India
  3. 60
    Troubles by J. G. Farrell (kidzdoc)
    kidzdoc: The first novel in Farrell's Empire Trilogy, which was awarded the Lost Man Booker Prize for the best novel of 1970.
  4. 30
    The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott (Cecrow)
  5. 20
    English Passengers by Matthew Kneale (Rynooo)
    Rynooo: English Passengers is an awesome work of historical fiction - it is by turns hilarious, shocking and thought provoking.
  6. 20
    Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (terrazoon)
    terrazoon: Good satires are hard to find. Although the subject matter is different, if you like one you will probably like the other.
  7. 00
    The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye (mcenroeucsb)
  8. 13
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (chrisschoeters)
    chrisschoeters: Beautiful, amazingly simple but emotionally complex. I would recommend this book to alle readers older than 14!
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» See also 543 mentions

English (65)  Dutch (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Fantastic read... I had this book my kindle for about half a decade but could never manage to go beyond a couple of pages. I decided to persist and finished reading it in a couple of days. I loved it. The book has all the hallmarks that would one expect from British Raj era and it is also a treatise on the White Man's Burden. This is the only time I sided with the British despite being an Indian :) ( )
  harishwriter | Oct 12, 2023 |
paperback
  SueJBeard | Feb 14, 2023 |
4.5 stars. what a quirky historical novel, and an extraordinary cast of oddball characters! the author’s wry wit makes the slaughter and privations of the armed conflict both fascinating and constantly amusing. looking forward to ‘the troubles’ after a short break ( )
  diveteamzissou | Feb 12, 2023 |
This was enjoyable reading, based on the true story of the mutiny at Cawnpur. I'm surprised any English People survived at all, so vastly were they outnumbered. I can't help but wonder what did the English think would happen? Taking away a people's culture and freedom and letting them know you believe they are inferior to you? Come on! ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
“The British could leave and half India wouldn't notice us leaving just as they didn't notice us arriving. All our reforms of administration might be reforms on the moon for all it has to do with them..”

“India itself was now a different place; the fiction of happy natives being led forward along the road to civilization could no longer be sustained.”

“All our actions and intentions are futile unless animated by warmth of feeling. Without love everything is a desert. Even Justice, Science, and Respectability.”

India, 1857. An isolated British outpost, on the subcontinent. The British here are living a comfortable life, clutching to their noble, old-world principles. There are are hints and rumblings that an uprising is about to occur, by Muslim soldiers. The colonists start to prepare for an attack but they are soon surrounded and the siege begins. I like how the tension grows in the story to an almost unbearable pitch and the subtle humor, that permeates the first half of the novel slowly begins to crumble. Based on historical events, Farrell does an incredible job with the writing and the story-telling. He was a genuine talent. Too bad he died at a young age. This is the second book in his Empire Trilogy. ( )
1 vote msf59 | Mar 22, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Farrell is the funniest novelist in English since Evelyn Waugh, with the same eye for the absurd as Tom Sharpe. This is the fictitious account, hilarious and horrifying by turns, of a besieged British garrison which held out for four months in the summer of 1857, the year of the Great Indian Mutiny, against a horde of native Sepoys. Despite the omens, the young British cavalry officers continue to indulge their taste for galloping into the nearest memsahib's drawing room, jumping over the sofas and then filling their sola topis with champagne instead of water to quench their horses' thirst. It is left to the Governor of Krishnapur, a sensitive, cultured man with a collection of treasures in his residence, to prepare for the siege. By the end of it cholera, starvation and the Sepoys have done for most of the inhabitants, who are reduced to eating beetles and, in the absence of powder and shot, loading their cannons with monogrammed silver cutlery and false teeth. The final retreat of the British, still doggedly stiff-upper-lipped, through the pantries, laundries, music rooms and ballroom of the residency, using chandeliers and violins as weapons, is a comic delight. And so is the usually serious Tim Pigott-Smith, whose repertoire of characters, from petulant maharajas to pink-faced subalterns - "I say, may we come in, we've come to relieve you" - is dazzling.
added by kidzdoc | editThe Guardian, Sue Arnold (Sep 24, 2005)
 
1974-09-30

Farrell can write with a fury to match his theme. As spectacle, The Siege of Krishnapur has the blaze and the agony of a scenario for hell. But as moral commentary, it is overcalculated—and its ironies unsuitably neat.
 
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Anyone who has never before reached Krishnapur, and who approaches from the east, is likely to think that he has reached the end of his journey a few miles sooner than he expected.
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"India, 1857 - the year of the Great Mutiny, when Muslim soldiers turned in bloody rebellion on their British overlords. This time of convulsion is the subject of J. G. Farrell's The Siege of Krishnapur, widely considered one of the finest British novels of the last fifty years." "Farrell's story is set in an isolated Victorian outpost on the subcontinent. Rumors of strife filter in from afar, and yet the members of the colonial community remain confident of their military and, above all, moral superiority. But when they find themselves under actual siege, the true character of their dominion - at once brutal, blundering, and wistful - is soon revealed." "The Siege of Krishnapur is a companion to Troubles, about the Easter 1916 rebellion in Ireland, and The Singapore Grip, which takes place just before World War II, as the sun begins to set upon the British Empire. Together these three novels offer a picture of the follies of empire."--BOOK JACKET.

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NYRB Classics

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 159017092X, 1590173732

 

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