Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

January 2009: The Far Pavilions

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
User avatar
Telynor
Bibliophile
Posts: 1465
Joined: August 2008
Location: On the Banks of the Hudson

Post by Telynor » Fri January 9th, 2009, 12:17 pm

It wasn't so much that Kaye was telling me the story, it was the way that she captured the essence of that there was something so much bigger going on that the novel could contain. I know that sounds clunky... But it was both the intimacy of the story -- seeing India unfold through Ash's eyes -- and the epic nature that caught me. Some of the sequences just blew me away, such as Ash and Juli during the storm, and the whole bit with the suttee -- that made my skin crawl.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Fri January 9th, 2009, 1:59 pm

I know Wigram Battye and all those other officers of the Guides are relatives of Kaye's, but the politics are really not very germaine to the story. She could have covered the entire thing in one paragraph, plot wise: "And then the ignorant idiots in Simla decided to pick a fight and thus started another Afghan war."
Now I did not know Battye, etc. were relatives of Kaye. Interesting.
and the epic nature that caught me. Some of the sequences just blew me away, such as Ash and Juli during the storm, and the whole bit with the suttee -- that made my skin crawl.
I love the bit with Ash and Juli caught in the storm. Amazing what an author can do to set characters to sizzling off the pages without a graphic detailed sex scene. As for the suttee, that's a nail biter each and every time I've read it.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri January 9th, 2009, 3:51 pm

Actually, the Wally Hamilton character was great-uncle of Kaye's husband, Goff Hamilton. After reading TFP and Shadow of the Moon, I found her memoirs (I've only read the first two) to be quite fascinating. One of the reasons both India books come off so real is that they are based on real incidents that happened to actual people, all combined into her main protagonists.

The danger there is that sometimes a person works in too much reality and weights the fictional part down. Not that I'm complaining, really -- Kaye is also on my all-time best list.

User avatar
LCW
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 756
Joined: August 2008
Location: Southern California

Post by LCW » Fri January 9th, 2009, 4:12 pm

I jumped the gun a bit and read this book in the early part of last month. I thought the writing was very effective in transporting the reader to MM Kay's India. The scenes between Juli and Ash were amazing and I looooved the storm scene as well. Hot hot hot!! And the sutee scene takes the cake for most nail biting suspenseful scene ever!

For me though, it was a four star read rather than five because I found that I was bored through much of the middle of the book and then again during the Afghan campaign part at the end. IMO, the book should've ended with Juli and Ash reuniting. Yes, that would've been a sterotypical ending but I felt like the ending, the way it was written, belonged in some sequel to TFP but instead was haphazardly stuck on the end.

But all in all it was a great book and I gave it a place on the "keeper" shelf so that later I can reread it and compare notes from the first time. I have Shadow of the Moon and am definitely looking forward to that one!
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Fri January 9th, 2009, 4:22 pm

[quote=""MLE""]Actually, the Wally Hamilton character was great-uncle of Kaye's husband, Goff Hamilton. After reading TFP and Shadow of the Moon, I found her memoirs (I've only read the first two) to be quite fascinating. One of the reasons both India books come off so real is that they are based on real incidents that happened to actual people, all combined into her main protagonists.

The danger there is that sometimes a person works in too much reality and weights the fictional part down. Not that I'm complaining, really -- Kaye is also on my all-time best list.[/quote]

I did get the first of her memoirs out from the library once but only got about 100 or so pages into it and it was due back. Interesting stuff, I just wasn't in the right mood at the moment - will have to get it back out again. I knew she had spent a lot of time in India with her husband, but I hadn't realized her father had spent a lifetime in the civil service in Asia.
I have Shadow of the Moon and am definitely looking forward to that one!
I loved that one, although it does take a while before things really cook. Those last 200 pages, prepare for sleepless nights :o

Swampy
Scribbler
Posts: 14
Joined: January 2009

Post by Swampy » Mon January 12th, 2009, 1:00 pm

Interesting that this should be book of the month right now.

I've just added this to my "books to read list".

I had seen the TV adaptation some years ago and was thinking of revisiting the DVD, but thought I should read the book instead.

The Indian Colonial era has always been something I fancy delving into.

Swampy

User avatar
pat
Avid Reader
Posts: 472
Joined: August 2008
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Post by pat » Fri January 16th, 2009, 10:03 am

I am still reading, perhaps somthing to do with the children on summer holidays and me not having my reading time! I am enjoying it still, and am glad I am reading it and I am pleased I will have it on my shelf (after mum has read it again!).

I am at the part where Ash is about to save Juli from the suttee, well, I presume he will save her, or rather I hope he will save her! I like the Wally character, he seemed a likeable type of guy.
A good book and a good coffee, what more can anyone want? xx

User avatar
ellenjane
Reader
Posts: 101
Joined: September 2008

Post by ellenjane » Fri January 16th, 2009, 7:28 pm

I'm reading along for Book O' The Month, and really enjoying it so far. It is slower going than some novels, but I think I'm well and truly grabbed now. Belinda has just become engaged to the illustrious Mr. Podmore-Smyth, and I find myself thinking "now that that silliness is done, we can really get going!" Time shall tell if I'm right...

User avatar
red805
Avid Reader
Posts: 261
Joined: August 2008
Location: Southern California

Post by red805 » Sat January 17th, 2009, 1:30 am

I finally finished the book at 1:30 am this morning. Although I "knew" what was going to happen at the end, there were a couple of twists, so I couldn't put it down until I was finished. I tend to agree with you, LCW, that the book could've ended after Juli & Ash reunited. The Afghan chapters did seem like they could have been part of another book. I also wished for more maps. But all in all, a very compelling & exotic book that did transport me to India. Kaye gave wonderful insights into & descriptions of religions & cultures that I know very little about. It might be nitpicking, but I thought Juli could've been a little more developed. She sort of disappeared into her burkha there in Kabul. But I really enjoyed Ash, & Wally, & Ash's father in his short turn. Overall, a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars from me. I've already recommended this to my 2 book-borrowing friends, although I'm thinking it might be a little too long & military-minded for them. But I like sagas & series, & would definitely read another Kaye novel, AFTER whittling down my TBR piles.

User avatar
pat
Avid Reader
Posts: 472
Joined: August 2008
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Post by pat » Wed January 28th, 2009, 8:57 am

Just finished today! It was hard going at times, but I think that was me and circumstances. However,I found it a great read, and very interesting on the Indian history front. I also thought that Juli could have been developed more, but then how she was written was subservient, as she would have been.

I would like to see the dvd of the book.
A good book and a good coffee, what more can anyone want? xx

Locked

Return to “Feature of the Month”