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3.7 out of 5 stars
7
3.7 out of 5 stars


on 7 September 2017
Very pleased to get this good copy to replace the very well worn used when at uni.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 January 2003
This is a well-written book that explores Anglo-Indian relations through the power of romance. Set in two distinct eras, colonial India of the nineteen twenties, during the time of the Raj, and the independent, freewheeling India of the seventies, during the time when India was a mecca for disenfranchised youth, it tells the story of two women.
One story is that of Olivia, the wife of a minor district official in colonial India, who in 1923 caused great scandal by running off with the Nawab, a local Indian prince. Divorced by her husband, Douglas, for this scandalous transgression, Olivia remains in India, while Douglas remarries.
The second story is that of the narrator, a descendant of Douglas and his second wife. During the nineteen seventies, fascinated by the story of the now deceased Olivia, she goes to India, visiting those locations where Olivia had lived and those which would have been a part of her existence at the time. As did Olivia, she falls under India's spell. As did Olivia, she, too, has an Anglo-Indian love affair, and picks up where Olivia left off, giving the reader a powerful sense of de-ja vu.
The book is a beguiling story of two women from two different generations who come under the spell of India. The book is evocative of British colonial India, as well as of India of the nineteen seventies. During both eras, Anglo-Indian relations are pivotal to the budding romances. The book is evocative of the rhythyms of Indian life in all its richness and tumultuousness, as well as its lingering poverty and superstitions. It is redolent of a time gone by and hopeful of what is to come. It is also an interesting dichotomy of the good and bad in both cultures, Anglo and Indian, and the influence that both cultures have on these two women, who are so different, yet so alike.
This is a book that whets the appetite, leaving the reader wanting more than the author is prepared to give. It is, nonetheless, a book well worth reading. The book was also made into a Merchant Ivory film starring Julie Christie and Greta Scacchi.
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on 17 February 2014
Not quite the condition it said it was in, but still ok. Book arrived quickly. Have not read it yet, it's waiting for a future book group read.
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on 4 June 2013
For anyone who has been to India, or would like to, this is a fascinating book with vivid descriptions of the country and its culture, and intriguing characters.
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on 23 October 2013
I can understand why this won the Booker Prize - what a fabulous book. Well written with an interesting story line and strong characters.
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on 18 April 2014
Reading this book for the second time it evoked the smells and atmosphere of India perfectly.it can be recommended as enjoyable.
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on 5 February 2013
print was very small and couldn't get into the story even thou i had enjoyed the movie years ago .
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