on 10 January 2016
As others have commented, the blurred elephants and grainy temples do detract from the prose, in which, after all, place is central to the text. It was rather like reading a book pulled out of a damp travelling trunk, with curling pages and a slightly greasy feel.
That said, I enjoyed the first part of the book, when Woolf was in Sri Lanka. I was personally reading to learn more about the place rather than about Woolf, although I have read The Village in the Jungle. I found the first part, the writer's memories of childhood combined with Woolf's experiences in his Civil Service post, were more engaging and alive than the later parts of the book.
I am not sure if the writer to make his subject likeable, but Leonard Woolf came across as someone of limited talent who was embedded in the imperialist world he professed to despise. Maybe this was an accurate view.
on 13 September 2012
Sadly I returned this book immediately because of the exceptionally poor quality of the printing and I cannot recommend anyone buys it for this reason alone. The publisher needs to look at the way it is manufacturing this book presumably using print on demand printing technology. The illustrations are of such poor quality as to be mostly useless, while the print quality would not make for easy reading. I am told this is a wonderful book but as currently produced it does the author a great disservice.
on 10 January 2012
I just received this book. I ordered it as Paul Theroux praises it in Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. So far it makes for interesting reading for anyone, like myself, who would love to go to Sri Lanka.
The book itself is a curious thing - the pictures look like bad photocopies from another book and don't really do the work justice.
A fascinating account of empire won and lost and one man's relation to it all. I was quite ignorant of Woolf's importance until I picked this up.