- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition (First Printing) edition (12 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007433700
- ISBN-13: 978-0007433704
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.3 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 895,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Scenes from Early Life Hardcover – 12 Apr 2012
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‘An unostentatious tour de force, combining a tender and richly affectionate family memoir with a vividly evoked portrait of town and country life and the story of the birth of a nation. It is full of surprises’ Margaret Drabble
‘Beautifully packed with detail … does for Bangladesh what Salman Rushdie did for India with Midnight’s Children … It is a remarkable re-creation of a land that most of us know little about’ Sunday Times
‘This is his most purely pleasurable novel to date’ Daily Mail
‘Highly impressive … for all Hensher's accomplished ventriloquism – his ability to inhabit the voice of a Muslim child and a history teacher at the same time – his own voice is not lost … heart-breaking’ Guardian
‘A deeply interesting book … The joins are seamless … It is inventive, clever and loving; a Booker candidate, I would have thought.’ Spectator
‘…this delightful book shows for the first time what Hensher has largely concealed in the past: his heart’ Amanda Craig, Independent on Sunday
‘…a remarkable piece of ventriloquism … Hensher proves himself a literary god of small things’ Financial Times
‘Hensher has created a greater thing than just a record of childhood, or war. It probably isn’t Zaved’s story any more, but it’s great just the same” The Observer
About the Author
Philip Hensher is a columnist for the Independent, arts critic for the Spectator and a Granta Best of Young British novelist. He has written seven novels, including The Mulberry Empire and the Booker-shortlisted The Northern Clemency, and one collection of short stories. He lives in South London.
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't read reviews before reading a book or writing a review but was amused to read back on the reviews of King of the Badgers. Mr Hensher seems to be an author people love or hate to read. I am just in admiration of how exceptionally written his books are and that they're so different - a cutting satire last time and and absolutely fantastic warm, compelling tale of the birth of Bangladesh this time. Mr Hensher writes about the everyday no-one else is writing about, yet provokes an extreme reaction. I think that's perhaps the mark of a great writer...
O.k. why I loved it and added 20 stars on. It reminded me of my favourite author - Amy Tan and the historical yet completely relevant way of telling a story of generations of a family. Anyone concerned with the 'sneering' and presumed heartless portrayal of characters in 'King of the Badgers' - it was meant to be a satire?! will be pleased to know this is a warm, beautifully told story of family ties, disagreements and feuds with resonating historical significance.Read more ›
The life of this very erudite area of India is described, Dickens-like. The Muslim religion is practiced in the same relatively unimportant way many so many so called Christians practice theirs, and religion is unimportant in this family when it comes to relationships. Things take a dramatic turn however when Pakistan intervenes to make this this area, East Pakistan, devout, leading to the violent separation of east and West, and creation of Bangladesh. Highly recommended, and an insight into the culture of the Bangladesh upper or middle class.
I loved the way that the author would repeat some events - it's an unusual style of writing but it adds to the impact of the narrative. I definitely want to read more of Mr Hensher's work.
What the 20 star reviewer finds so attractive about the book left me cold. The repetitive nature of storytelling does not appeal to me. There is too much of the unnecessary detail and there were paragraphs I had to skip through in sheer frustration as another description of the tamarind plant would reduce me to tears.
Some of the characters are well developed but some are just left to rot away without any explanation. The two musicians who weave in and out of the story are strangely left alone in the end with no explanation about what happened to Altaf between Amit's departure to India and then subsequent return a few years later. He was helping out during the war by carrying ammunition to the freedom fighters but is his lack of activity after the way a metaphor for the lack of any real progress in Bangladesh during those years? I also noticed some minor continuity errors that were frustrating.
I know the story of the birth of Bangladesh intimately. This alone made me want to read the book and it still makes me want to recommend it to the general reader. The novel is a little loose for my taste. A tightly wound tale consisting of 257 rather than 307 pages could have made this a real page turner for those who know little about 1971 and the political events leading up to that war of liberation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I didn’t enjoy this as much as Hensher’s novels, probably because I read it on a long train journey full of distractions. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Mr. D. P. Jay
I enjoyed this, and learned a lot about a lifestyle and culture far from my own. It motivated me to read a bit more about the history of Bangladesh, and the characters engaged me... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Constant reader
i thoroughly enjoyed this book, written with colour and affection. All the characters are as ever with this author, completely alive. Read morePublished on 22 July 2013 by J MCEWAN