The Singapore Grip Paperback – 1 Oct 1996
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"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."
"[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."
"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"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A classic novel by a Booker Prize-winning author.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like JG Farrel's work. This was as I would expect from him. Good character development and good story.Published 1 month ago by peter mackey
Great novel I read it alongside James Leasor's ' Singapore - the battle that changed the world, on a visit to Singapore. Read morePublished 3 months ago by G. E. Kirkup
A long, but entertaining and moving read. Interspersed with wonderful passages of absurdist humour arising from the juxtaposition of British Colonial culture and the people of Asia... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Brian Debnam