33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Exciting and unusual escape reading.,
This review is from: The Glass Palace (Paperback)
Full of the colors, scents, and sounds of exotic Burma in the 1860's, this novel comes to life within the Glass Palace of the royal family and in the streets of Mandalay in the final days before the British arrive to colonize. Giving life to the Burmese point of view, Rajkumar and Dolly, orphaned children working as servants when the novel begins, become the founders of a family whose members, in succeeding generations, reflect the economic and the political realities in Burma, Malaya, and India over the 150 years from the British raj to the present day.
Working as suppliers of teak, petroleum, and rubber, members of this family and of two other families with whom they have close ties, also work as soldiers supporting Britain during World Wars I and II, with the independence movement in Burma and India, and eventually as anti-communist intellectuals in the present state of Myanmar. By having these families participate in the important historical events which occurred in this part of the world, Ghosh does a remarkable job of personalizing these events and making them memorable for readers. The action, especially during the World War II invasion of Malaya by the Japanese, is vivid and exciting, as people try to flee the shooting in Malaya but find roads closed to Burma and Siam. While this is not War and Peace, The Glass Palace is a fascinating look into the history and cultures of a region which has had little exposure in western novels. Mary Whipple