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The Village in the Jungle [Paperback]

Leonard Woolf
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Mar 2010
The book has no illustrations or index. It may have numerous typos or missing text. However, purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original rare book from the publisher's website ( You can also preview excerpts of the book there. Purchasers are also entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Original Publisher: London : Arnold; Publication date: 1913; Subjects: Colonial administrators/ Fiction; Fathers and daughters/ Fiction; British/ Sri Lanka/ Fiction; Colonial administrators; Fathers and daughters; British; Culture conflict; Imperialism; Villages; Sri Lanka; Fiction / Historical; Fiction / Literary; Fiction / Classics; Fiction / Literary; Fiction / Political; Juvenile Fiction / Family / Parents;

Product details

  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: General Books LLC (27 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1154884775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1154884777
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,133,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Woolf has done what I thought was get inside the mind and heart of the Far East' -- Alec Waugh --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Leonard Woolf was born in London in 1880. Educated at St. Paul's School and Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1904 he joined the Civil Service in Ceylon returning to England in May 1911. With his wife, Virginia Woolf, he lived at the heart of the Bloomsbury Group, setting up the Hogarth Press with her in 1917. He wrote two novels, a number of works of non-fiction and a brilliant five-volume memoir. He died in 1969. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hidden Gem 14 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A beautifully written view into village life on a tropical island in colonial Britain. This novel is vivid and readable. While the author clearly illustrates a particular culture and time, that of a rural family in the "dry" forest area, where life is particularly hard and short, the psychological and social effects of poverty have universal qualities. The colonial administration system is clearly one of the villains of the book, and the gentle innocence of the main characters portray a way of life influenced by Buddhism present in the island to this day.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Village in the Jungle 6 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Leonard Woolf wrote this after seven years working as a colonial officer on the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and this novel shows his growing disullusionment with the British colonial system. First published in 1913, Woolf centres his story on the village of Beddagana (which means, 'the village in the jungle'). "All jungles are evil, but no jungle is more evil than that which lay about the village of Beddagama..." he states and, "the rule of the jungle is first fear, and then hunger and thirst."

Beddagama is surrounded by jungle and the villagers who live there grow rice, where possible; but usually millet or maize and a few vegetables. There are ten families and the main character is Silindu, who beat his wife after giving birth to twin daughters, but gradually comes to care about them. We follow the father and his strange, silent children. The villagers fear Silindu and his strange ways and are jealous of his daughters, who are fair and beautiful. The villagers struggle on the edge of starvation and debt and, when Silindu's daughters, Punchi Menika and Hinnihami, grow into women their beauty indirectly causes a series of tragedies for him and his family.

This is a very interesting book about an isolated community and the problems they face. Silindu wants to live with just his daughters for company, but the world refuses to leave him alone and he struggles to understand anything outside of the village and the jungle he calls home. There is much about the superstition of a people living a very difficult life; trying to eke out a difficult existence, threatened by debts and by their powerlessness. You really also get a sense of the jungle as a malevolent presence, pressing in upon the small village that huddles within it. Very well written, evocative and worth reading.
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By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
An engrossing tale, inspired by the author's time as assistant governor in the east of Sri Lanka. Set in a small village, it concerns the taciturn loner, Silindu, and his motherless twin daughters. Silindu is an outsider in his village, and prefers to spend his time away hunting in the jungle. But life is hard and desperately poor, and he finds himself at odds with the village headman, who has the power to make his life difficult...
Love, hatred, greed, plotting, religion, superstition all come into this tale; and over it all the British administration, whose taxes and permits make life that bit harder for the peasants.
Having recently visited this area of Sri Lanka, I really felt Woolf's writing brought the area to life ;
'The jungle surged forward over and blotted out the village up to the very walls of her hut...Its breath was hot and closed with its shrubs and bushes and trees, with the impenetrable disorder of its thorns and its creepers, over the rice-fields and the tanks.'

In a short story, 'Pearls and Swine' which appears in my (Eland) edition, Woolf expresses some of his opinions on the shortcomings of colonial rule.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colonialism revealed 5 Mar 2011
By Wilhelm
An excellent book which reveals the true nature of colonialism. Instead of the nostalgic pictures of gentlemen in white ducks sipping gin slings, L. Woolf shows us the real situation of pre-independent Ceylon. His book however does not dwell on the mea culpa of Brits, as so often seen in self-righteous anti-colonialist literature, but also shows how the indigenous people on a human and inhuman scale dealt with their own problems. It is a dour story but shows great insight, much in the way that Huxley's "Burmese Days" did.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I live in Sri Lanka. This book is timeless and gives an extreme but accurate insight to the life here, especially the life of the poor and uneducated. it is as relevant today as when it was so empatheticaly written. A must read for anyone with an interest in the Island .
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