Customer Review

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid and moving metaphor for the collapse of Empire, 8 Feb 2002
This review is from: Troubles (Paperback)
Troubles is the second part of what is a loosely-linked trilogy about the decline of the British Empire. Running through them all to provide some continuity is Major Brendan Archer, a rather weak but quite lovable man who arrives in Ireland in 1921 having retired from the Army in which he served in WW1. He is engaged to a woman he barely knows, Angela, who soon dies. However, rather like the British in Ireland, despite the disappearance of the original reason for his presence, he does not leave. Rather he lingers at Angela's father's Majestic Hotel. The country is being swept by the Home Rule movement, and even the rural area which is the backdrop for Troubles is not immune; Republican freedom fighters are seen on the grounds and the aristocratic residents are in mortal fear at times. The characters are very strongly portrayed in Troubles and the splendid descriptive narrative - particularly of the hotel and its grounds - provide a tangible sense of decay one can almost smell. Of course, since the Hotel is a grand metaphor for the British Empire itself, this is wonderfully appropriate. When Archer arrives, the place is already crumbling and the exotic plants in the conservatory are overgrown and jungular, threatening to block out all the light - perhaps representing the Imperial decline in Asia - by the time he leaves, it is no more. There is a wonderful, glittering hiatus when there seems, for a time, a chance to salvage what is left and turn the clock back, and the reader is swept up in this hopeful optimism, only to have those hopes dashed along with the characters' own - a perfect representation of the interwar years. Troubles can be read on a number of different levels. Even if you are not interested in history, this is still a good read; if you're not interested in the trilogy, it is a freestanding novel in its own right and can simply be read alone. However, if you are familiar with British imperial history, you will find this an erudite and moving story of metaphor. It is a worthy text and I'd highly recommend the other parts of the trilogy, The Siege of Krishnapur and The Singapore Grip.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Dec 2010 11:18:26 GMT
J. Buggle says:
Disappointed to now know that Angela dies.

Posted on 16 Mar 2012 08:36:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Mar 2012 08:42:29 GMT
Via says:
Disappointed to know so much of the plot. Spoiler alert! Bad reviewer.

Posted on 10 Jun 2012 00:03:33 BDT
:0(
Sorry to have read a review which exposes such detail. Bad review. Inconsiderate.
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