Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Book Revisited: The Far Pavilions


I really need to catch up on my reading. There's been a lot of stuff going on that I've hardly had time to read. The other day at My Random Acts of Reading I read a post about the author M.M. Kaye. I'd forgotten about her and before this, I haven't seen any mention of her or her books on any book blogs. Since I'm having a book reviewing slump, I thought I'd take the time to revisit a book I read in the past that's very good and has had little or no mention in the blogosphere. I might even make this a weekly weekend meme. What do you think? It's a perfect way to bring attention to certain books. I know we were reading way before we had book blogs but we usually only write about the books we've recently read. This is a good way to think of some of the books we read in the past that have left an impression on us but for some reason have yet to be mentioned in book blogs.

I hope I can entice some of you to pick this book up, The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye, one of the best historical novels I've ever read.


One of my favourite settings for a novel is the British Raj. I just love it and I'll pick up just about any book if it's set in that era.  M.M. Kaye really knows her stuff as she was born and raised in India. Her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served in the British Raj.  The Far Pavilions was a worldwide best-seller when it was released in 1978 when M.M. Kaye was seventy years old. It was even made into a mini-series starring Ben Cross and Amy Irving.

The Far Pavilions is the story of Ashton, an English boy brought up by an Indian woman. He speaks the language fluently and has enough of their colouring to pass for a northern Indian. As a young boy, he meets Anjuli, a Russian/Indian princess who becomes his closest friend. Ashton later learns that he is English and he's sent back to England to be brought up properly. He returns years later as a military man but he soon finds that he's actually more Indian than English. He is soon reunited with Anjuli but their love is a forbidden one. This is an enormous book at almost 1,000 pages but it's well worth it. Filled with adventure, romance and war, The Far Pavilions is a long, rich and hugely satisfying read. I highly recommend it if you're up for an epic novel.

If you'd like to join the meme, grab the image above and post about a book you've read in the past that (as far as you know) has had zero or little mention in the book blogosphere. It must be a book you enjoyed and highly recommend. Write a brief summary or review and leave a link in the comment section below. I look forward to reading all your suggestions!

18 comments:

  1. I am interested in the British Raj Period also-thanks for bringing this book to our attention-I will look for it-

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  2. Alyce at At Home With Books hosts a similar meme, only it's on Thursdays: it's called My Favourite Reads. Anyway, I think it's an excellent idea, and I'd love to start highlighting old favourites myself. Now I only need to find the time...

    I'd never heard of M.M. Kaye before, so thank you for bringing this to my attention.

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  3. I actually bought this a few years ago for a group read that never materialized. One of these days....

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  4. The Far Pavilions has been on my TBR list for years but I've yet to get to it! I love books set in India, particularly during the British Raj, and I've heard nothing but good things about this one.

    Love the idea of "A Book Revisited".

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  5. @Nymeth - I didn't know about the meme at At Home With Books. I've never visited her blog. A Book Revisited doesn't have to be favourite books, just books you enjoyed that you feel are never or hardly mentioned in book blogs.

    @Claire - If you love books set in India then you'll definitely love this one.

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  6. Oh, I loved this book! So much better than the miniseries. It made me long to go to India.

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  7. A Book Revisited sounds similar to my With Reverent Hands series- it's great to get attention out about books like that, I feel!

    I have this book and Shadow of the Moon on my shelf by MM Kaye. Haven't read either. I think I may be the opposite of you! I often have a lot of trouble reading books set during the British Raj, especially from the English perspective.

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  8. I love The Far Pavilions! It's the perfect book for a long plane ride, I always find: long and a bit dense, but also very exciting and suspenseful. I've hated most of Kaye's other books I've tried: The Shadow of the Moon is a lot like The Far Pavilions, which is great, and then The Ordinary Princess is this really charming fairy tale story for kids. Have you read either of them?

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  9. You may well entice me to read The Far Pavilions again. I read a library copy years ago and loved it. I bought my own a while back, but I have to wonder if I've built it up too much in my mind and maybe wouldn't love it as much as I expect now. It's a dilemma. As is finding enough time to read old books as well as new ones...

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  10. This book sounds really interesting, and I love epic stories. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

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  11. hi I remember this book from my parents bookshelves. It was huge in the 1970s. I must read it, I love Indian located books and especially Rohinton Mistry and Vikram Singh. Have you read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts? Highly recommend it. xoxo

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  12. I've always meant to read The Far Pavilions, but have not gotten around to it. I did read all her mysteries/romances set in far outposts of the British Empire--usually around about the war years. Have you read any of them--I loved them and have been thinking of rereading them if I can ever squeeze them in. I also have her autobiographies that I would love to read, too. And I like your idea of blogging on older books. I might have to join in--but the problem for me would be able to remember enough of the plot to write something about the books! I look forward to hearing more about the books you choose!

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  13. @Aarti - Yes, I know your With Reverent Hands series and I enjoy it a lot. I guess it is similar except A Book Revisited shouldn't necessarily be about favourite books, just good ones that haven't been mentioned much in the blogosphere.

    @Jenny - I've only read this one book by M.M.Kaye. I have Shadow of the Moon on my To be read pile. I should read it soon!

    @Jane - I haven't read the books you mentioned except Shantaram. I'll look them up.

    @Danielle - I'd love to read M.M.Kaye's mysteries. I'll try to find them. A Book Revisited just requires a short summary/review because I do realize that most people would have forgotten most of the plot. You can also just write why you enjoyed it and why you recommend the book.

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  14. I love M M Kaye although I haven't read her for a long time. I loved Far Pavilions & Shadow of the Moon & the mysteries & the autobiographies... What a great idea to write about forgotten favourites. I can't wait to see what else you revisit.

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  15. I'm glad that I reminded you of M.M. Kaye. And I'm glad that you will be highlighting some good books that have not gotten much notice lately. Precious button you produced.

    I'll enjoy stopping by and seeing what you've been doing!

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  16. Hi - lovely to read your post because I have an MM Kaye book which I have to read for some research that I am doing (long and complicated story!) but I haven't got around to it yet. It is not the Far Pavillions - it is autobiographical but I have forgotten the title. i will make sure that when I read it I blog on the subject!

    Thanks for sharing

    Hannah

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  17. This is a fabulous book. :) Glad to see someone else read it and enjoyed it.

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  18. I grew up in India in the 50's so love this author. Her autobiographies, Sun in the Morning (her childhood in India) and Golden Afternoon (where she returns to India at the age of 19) are worth reading.

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