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.

M M Kaye

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 2:58 pm

"LCW" wrote:I'm reading The Far Pavillions now and for me so far it's just OK. I'm 1/2 way through (it's taking a while to read as last week I was busy with holiday stuff) and am still waiting for *something* to happen. So far the best part has been the wonderful descriptions of India. I'm not too thrilled with the storyline though. It's just a little bit slow and plodding for me. I still have 1/2the book to read so it may change but as of now I'm really surprised as I thought for sure I'd love this one!!


I'm really surprised I loved loved loved this book, especially the wedding trip and the Suttee rescue. The last part is a bit slower so be warned.

One of the things about Kaye's writing is her knowledge of Eastern cultures and her ability to show to us how different Eastern and Western cultures are - not that they're wrong just different and we'll never see eye to eye.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite 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

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 3:23 pm

All right, at the risk of being heretical, I too think that MM Kaye could really have used an editor. One of the problems that she has as a writer (at least when writing about the country of her birth) is TMI. She has got to make sure that you know every detail of the political climate, and to accomplish this she puts in long-winded debates between minor characters which have very little to do with the story at hand.

I preferred Shadow of the Moon because the politics had much more to do with the plot, since most of the book was a the countdown to the Sepoy Mutiny.

Another problem with Far Pavilions was the ending. Pretty much all of the Afghan Campaign could have been left out and it wouldn't have hurt the plot a bit. I think that since Kaye wrote in her husband's relative Wally Hamilton as a side character, she had to follow him to his demise no matter what.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 4:13 pm

Another problem with Far Pavilions was the ending. Pretty much all of the Afghan Campaign could have been left out and it wouldn't have hurt the plot a bit. I think that since Kaye wrote in her husband's relative Wally Hamilton as a side character, she had to follow him to his demise no matter what.


I'll agree with you there, I alway thought they could have dropped the last third of the novel and it would still be tops in my books. I have to confess I don't mind all that information as long as I'm learning something, but that's just me.

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 4:54 pm

I'm not reading TFP again as it would be the 4th time, but to say that I loved this book from the get-go and all the way through. It is a while since I've read it, so I might now think it could do with an edit, but I never saw the need on the other occasions. Misfit, yes. That suttee scene has to go down as one of the most vibrant and exciting in any work of historical fiction I have ever read. I also think that my love for TFP explains why I didn't go for Beneath a Marble Sky all that much. If I hadn't read TFP I might not have realised how lacking BAMS was.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 5:07 pm

"MLE" wrote:All right, at the risk of being heretical, I too think that MM Kaye could really have used an editor. One of the problems that she has as a writer (at least when writing about the country of her birth) is TMI. She has got to make sure that you know every detail of the political climate, and to accomplish this she puts in long-winded debates between minor characters which have very little to do with the story at hand.


That would have taken everything I loved about the book. It is after all a historical fiction novel. And the details of India itself are breathtaking.

Pretty much all of the Afghan Campaign could have been left out and it wouldn't have hurt the plot a bit. I think that since Kaye wrote in her husband's relative Wally Hamilton as a side character, she had to follow him to his demise no matter what.


Actually after I read that part, I wanted to know more! I started reading up on both campaigns. I had a much better idea of Afghanistan by the time our country was directly involved with it. Tho thinking on it, if it had been taken out, I am not sure it would have hurt the novel at all.

I will admit, that India has always fascinated me, and by the time I read this as an adult, I had already read many classic books like Kim, and many historic novels. So I totally understand that 'your mileage may vary'.

BTW, should we be holding off on comments till January? This is the book of the month, right?

User avatar
LCW
Compulsive Reader
Location: Southern California

Postby LCW » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 5:16 pm

"MLE" wrote: ......She has got to make sure that you know every detail of the political climate, and to accomplish this she puts in long-winded debates between minor characters which have very little to do with the story at hand.



I agree, there's a lot of background and I think the author is trying very hard to convey to the reader the tensions and turmoils between occupiers and occupied but, IMO at least, sometimes it's at the expense of the story.

Maybe that's why the beginning of the novel when Ash was the little Hindu boy, Ashok, was the best part so far for me. It was more story oriented then.
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
LCW
Compulsive Reader
Location: Southern California

Postby LCW » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 5:21 pm

"Misfit" wrote:I'm really surprised I loved loved loved this book, especially the wedding trip and the Suttee rescue. The last part is a bit slower so be warned.

One of the things about Kaye's writing is her knowledge of Eastern cultures and her ability to show to us how different Eastern and Western cultures are - not that they're wrong just different and we'll never see eye to eye.


I loved the wedding scene! That was a good one! And the entire part of Ash's childhood was great, I was loving the book....then he grew up, lol. The whole Belinda thing was a bit cliched for me. Hero falls for bratty awful spoiled rich girl then sees her for what she is...a bit too typical!!

I haven't gotten to the suttee scene but I pretty much figured there would be one in there since it comes up so often. Ugh, what an awful thing! I do like that the author is very fair in the treatment of both cultures and isnt' glamorizing one while demonizing another. She shows the weaknesses and strenghts of both.

I don't hate the book, I just don't love it, and right now it's at a tentative four stars but if the ending is even slower it might end up at three stars. I definitely plan to read Shadow of the Moon though. I recognise talent in the author I just think there's too much background and not enough story for me here!
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
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 6:00 pm

I haven't gotten to the suttee scene but I pretty much figured there would be one in there since it comes up so often. Ugh, what an awful thing! I do like that the author is very fair in the treatment of both cultures and isnt' glamorizing one while demonizing another. She shows the weaknesses and strenghts of both.


I think Ash is right we're getting a head of ourselves, but that the Suttee bit is one of the all time tops unputdownable sit on the edge of your pants scenes I've come across anywhere.

I've never read Kaye's mysteries (not my bag), but I also enjoyed Trade Wind (set in Zanzibar). There's a controversial scene towards the end of the book that turned off some Amazon readers but we weren't so PC back when that book was first written.

I've got to get back to reading her memoirs. I didn't get very far on the first one and then it was due back at the library. Her father lead quite an interesting life as well in the civil service.

Caveowl
Scribbler

MMKaye's Rogue Rory

Postby Caveowl » Thu December 4th, 2008, 6:22 am

has just returned to Zanzibar, after giving the pirates a message about the island's small European community. And Hero Athena may have taken one horse ride too many. Thanks to all of you for pointing me toward MMKaye. I am starting with an LP edition of "Trade Winds," learning about the Arab slave trade. Next book will be "Far Pavillion," particularly since you all have me curious about the Suttee scene.

In the January poll, I voted for "Whale Road." Can I recall that vote? IMO, Low's book is too much swords and fury, not enough development of character or setting.

About libraries: in Central Oregon there are three county libraries, one rich, two poor. The poorest has the highest percentage of "classic" HF, since they don't buy much new stuff, they keep the old. Conversely, the rich library has a very high "turnover rate" in their collection. The poor library's copy of "Captain from Castile," the only one in the region, is a battered wreck of a book, having no jacket, a broken spine, and loose pages. It's beyond inhouse repair of most libraries. Any affluent library would likely have tossed that copy years ago. I haven't checked, but if it's OP in HC, the odds are it wouldn't be re-ordered.

(Question: when I wrote the first, longer, more graphic draft of this and clicked on preview, I saw an oops and went to edit it in the "preview post" window and it disappeared ... Not knowing what happened, I'm curious if this "program" has a subtle self-protection device?)

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Thu December 4th, 2008, 3:13 pm

(Question: when I wrote the first, longer, more graphic draft of this and clicked on preview, I saw an oops and went to edit it in the "preview post" window and it disappeared ... Not knowing what happened, I'm curious if this "program" has a subtle self-protection device?)


I've never been able to preview on any comment when I'm editing the original.

Don't you love those LP editions? I can actually read them without reading glasses :p

I'll be curious to see your take on that one scene towards the end of Trade Wind that set so many Amazon reviewers off. I though MMK lead up to Rory's rational quite well and it fit for the period - they weren't exactly PC in those days.


Return to “India”