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The Singapore Grip by [Farrell, J.G.]
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The Singapore Grip Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Length: 586 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"No writer has swallowed all of Singapore, from its stately colonial bungalows to its once opium-infested slums, with the verve and wit of the late J.G. Farrell, whose 1978 saga "The Singapore Grip" remains the great Singapore novel...Farrell's pungent aroma still fleetingly hovers over today's city...With his gentle wit Farrell captures the soul of Singapore: a polyglot Asian port, still partly under the sleepy sway of its British colonial past, and still lurching toward an uncertain future with a furious, irresistible energy." --"Time Magazine"

"A brilliant, complex, richly absurd and melancholy monument to the follies and splendours of Empire."
Hilary Spurling
"[This] vivid, multi-dimensional portrait of Singapore is a superbly constructed book, enjoyable on many different levels."
"The Sunday Times"
"In Singapore Farrell makes a heroic and memorable attempt to portray and understand not only the Japanese, but also the lives of the millions of poor, oppressed, displaced and dying whose destruction came about through no fault of their own, who were swept helplessly away by the tides of commercial interest and war."
Margaret Drabble
"The author of the Booker Prize-winning "The Siege of Krishnapur "sets this brilliant work in Singapore in 1939, as an old English firm tries to cash in on the impending world war. A complex, often funny meditation on empire and other matters."
Martin Levin, "The Globe and Mail"

"No writer has swallowed all of Singapore, from its stately colonial bungalows to its once opium-infested slums, with the verve and wit of the late J.G. Farrell, whose 1978 saga "The Singapore Grip" remains the great Singapore novel...Farrell's pungent aroma still fleetingly hovers over today's city...With his gentle wit Farrell captures the soul of Singapore: a polyglot Asian port, still partly under the sleepy sway of its British colonial past, and still lurching toward an uncertain future with a furious, irresistible energy." "
"

" Time Magazine""

Book Description

A classic novel by a Booker Prize-winning author.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1854 KB
  • Print Length: 586 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New Ed edition (30 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KKXMJ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,867 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Another wonderful book by Farrell. This time we are Singapore upon whose shores the Second World War is about to reach. We see the usual collection of eccentric colonials and witness their social dealings. Whilst the rest of the Empire battled the Germans and Japanese, in Singapore fortunes are to be made and daughters to be married off. Farrell has created a wonderful host of characters who often discuss the weightiest of matters in the most perilous situations. Thus not only are we treated to reading about them putting out incendiary bombs but we have them discussing the betterment of man whilst they do it. As with Farrell's other novels the book is wonderfully funny, this one is however tinged with sadness. The injustice of Empire is more apparent and the motives of the people whose stories we witness are much crasser than in his other books. This, as with all of Farrell's books is a must read.
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Format: Paperback
This was much more of an epic than I expected. Nearest comparison I can think of is Olivia Manning's "Fortunes Of War" (Balkan and Levant trilogies), with a dash of Paul Scott (Raj quartet) and Evelyn Waugh (Sword Of Honour).

By turns serious and satirical, it recounts the inexorable decline of the ex-pat British colonial community in Malaya, as the imperial Japanese storm gathers, bursts, and ultimately destroys their apparently invunerable world of privilege.

Although parts of the book are slow (but often funny), it is never less than absorbing, and builds to a gripping and moving climax, which I found utterly unputdownable.

Sadly, this was to be Farrell's last book, as he died shortly after completing it.
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By A Customer on 13 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
I don't recognise the book that Michael Kalk describes. Every one of Farrell's characters comes to life on the page. And though the book is long, it's never boring - it immerses you in colonial Singapore on the cusp of the Japanese invasion. As usual with Farrell, the narrative is threaded through with dark humour - right down to the title. When you find out what 'Singapore grip' means, you'll think twice about asking for it by name at your local bookshop.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
15 August 2000
I SIMPLY CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS WONDERFUL STORY HIGHLY ENOUGH. I bought it purely on 'spec' as I was hunting around Amazon for any book on Singapore or the Far East (I was in a nostalgic mood for the exotic orient - probably our lousy summer weather here in the Uk did it). This book turned out to be an absolute treasure - Singapore in the last months before the fall to the Japanese is brought to life with remarkable vividness and the most loving detail. This is a truly compelling tale, by turns deeply poignant, hilarious, slap-stick, and bitterly ironic. Draped everywhere are succulent vignettes of colonial life and English eccentricity, all set against the dramatic, vast, dark tableau of the looming war in South-east Asia. It is a very clever and cleverly told story too. But the characters are the real strength here - it is a real ensemble piece, with a large and varied cast of 'players', and they are all so fascinating and three-dimensional you will find yourself completely captivated as you follow their progress and adventures, and watch them interact. An atmospheric, evocative, pungent, compelling, spell-binding book, perfect for tucking up in bed with on a cold rainy night, which will utterly absorb you into its streets and settings. I EXHORT YOU to order this book. J.G. Farrell was unknown to me before I stumbled across this book here at Amazon, and now I shall be ordering a couple more of his books next. The Singapore Grip is supposedly one of three books by Farrell referred to by critics as Farrell's 'Empire Trilogy' - guess what I'm ordering next!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An engrossing book, if a little long-winded from time to time. This was probably due to the author's enthusiasm, no to be doubted, having got the better of him. An interesting blend of fact and fiction. If one is interested to follow-on from where The Singapore Grip leaves off, Sinister Twilight by Noel Barber is an excellent factual account.

I am familiar with SE Asia, but I think many who are not would better understand the geography of the Japanese invasion of the region and the British defence, by having a small map in the front of the book. I often think that about books where geography is important to the narrative.

I was distracted by Farrell's preoccupation with the word "presently" which sometimes appears twice on a page. Odd for someone so obviously objective otherwise.
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Format: Paperback
When the Japanese invaded China in 1937 and French Indo-China in 1941, the handwriting was on the wall for the colony of Singapore, one of Great Britain's most important military and economic centers. Hubris, and the sense that their military power was vastly superior to any other in the world, however, led to Britain's lack of military preparedness and the astonishingly quick takeover of Malaya and Singapore by the Japanese in 1942, handing the British what Winston Churchill called "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history." Author J. G. Farrell recreates these traumatic days in Singapore as the final novel in his "Empire Trilogy," which, like Troubles and The Siege of Krishnapur, combines Farrell's cynicism, black humor, and sense of absurdity with his uncompromising honesty about colonialism--Britain's greed, its colonial "mission," and its cruelty toward its "subjects."

The venerable Singapore merchant firm of Blackett and Webb and its principals come vibrantly alive here as they deal with continuing strikes, unrest in rural areas, challenges to the government by the communists, and an influx of immigrants from other countries. The outbreak of war in Europe has made the demand for Blackett and Webb's rubber supplies a high priority for Britain's military cars and planes, and Blackett and Webb are poised to capitalize by manipulating prices, withholding product, and evading the law. Associating with generals, the leaders of society, and local governors, the company's representatives are busy planning an elaborate jubilee celebration. Even as the Japanese are attacking from the north, Walter Blackett continues with the planned celebration.
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