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The Pagoda Tree - Claire Scobie

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Published: 26th June 2013
Format: ePUB
$14.99

Weaving together the uneasy meeting of two cultures, The Pagoda Tree is a captivating story of love, loss and fate.

Tanjore, 1765. Maya plays among the towering granite temples of this ancient city in the heart of southern India. Like her mother before her, she is destined to become a devadasi, a dancer for the temple. She is instructed in dance, the mystical arts and lovemaking. It is expected she will be chosen as a courtesan for the prince himself.

But as Maya comes of age, India is on the cusp of change and British dominance has risen to new heights. The prince is losing his power and the city is sliding into war. Maya is forced to flee her ancestral home, and heads to the bustling port city of Madras, where East and West collide.

Maya captivates all who watch her dance. Thomas Pearce, an ambitious young Englishman who has travelled to India to make his fortune, is entranced from the moment he first sees her. But their love is forbidden, and comes at enormous cost.

About the Author

Claire Scobie is an award-winning journalist who has lived and worked in the UK, India and now Sydney, where she writes for the Telegraph, the Observer, and theSydney Morning Herald, among others. In 1997 she won the Catherine Pakenham Award as Best Woman Journalist of the year. Her first book, Last Seen in Lhasa, is a memoir based on her friendship with a Tibetan nun, and won the Dolman Best Travel Book Award in 2007. The Pagoda Tree is her second book.

BOOKTOPIA INTERVIEW: CLAIRE SCOBIE ANSWERS BOOKTOPIA'S TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS - CLICK HERE

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The Pagoda Tree
 
4.8

(based on 8 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Engaging characters (8)
  • Well written (7)
  • Informative (6)
  • Page-turner (6)
  • Easy to read (5)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Gift (7)
  • Travel reading (6)
  • Older readers (4)
  • Reference (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Bookworm (5)

Reviewed by 8 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-8

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5.0

Acomplished first novel

By 

from Sydney

About Me Bookworm

Pros

  • Deserves Multiple Readings
  • Easy To Read
  • Engaging characters
  • Informative
  • Page-Turner
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gift
    • Older Readers
    • Reference
    • Travel Reading

    Comments about The Pagoda Tree:

    Claire Scobie shows herself to be an accomplished novel writer in this her novel debut. It is clear that her story, set in 17th century India is based on thorough research of an era in history that hasn't really been explored in novel form before.Scobie's skill is in bringing to life the history of this time through suspenseful and evocative story telling and throughly believable characters.Like stepping into a cinematically sensual panorama of human pathos, suffering and divine joy, the imagery stays with you long after you have finished reading.

    Comment on this review

     
    5.0

    Wonderful story of strong women

    By 

    from Sydney

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Pros

    • Deserves Multiple Readings
    • Engaging characters
    • Page-Turner

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Gift

      Comments about The Pagoda Tree:

      A beautiful and engaging novel with wonderful, strong female characters. I read it one rainy weekend on the couch, and the writing was so evocative I was transported to a very different place and time. Having never been to or read much about India before, I will definitely be putting this genre on my 'must read' list.

      Comment on this review

       
      5.0

      An engaging and easy to read story

      By 

      from North Queensland

      About Me Casual Reader

      Pros

      • Easy To Read
      • Engaging characters
      • Informative
      • Page-Turner
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about The Pagoda Tree:

          It is such a challenge for a non Indian to write a novel deeply rooted in the history of this rich and ancient culture. Claire Scobie has achieved what not many authors have done and she captivates her reader from the first page. An easy read, the story of Maya and Thomas, and the life of the devadasi entwine and unfold in magical detail. I shall bring her book with me when I head to India again.

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Highly Recommend

          By 

          from Sydney

          About Me Casual Reader

          Pros

          • Deserves Multiple Readings
          • Easy To Read
          • Engaging characters
          • Immersive
          • Informative
          • Page-Turner
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift
            • Older Readers
            • Reference
            • Travel Reading
            • Younger Readers

            Comments about The Pagoda Tree:

            In The Pagoda Tree Claire Scobie masterfully immerses the reader into another time and place. Through intricate research Scobie reveals a deep understanding of a little known period in history. The laws and circumstances foreign to a contemporary reader relating to eighteenth century India, become significant through the forbidden love story of its main characters. Maya is a temple dancing girl -the devadasi, intended for the Prince of Tanjore. Instead, she falls in love with a young Englishman. Thomas Pearce is seeking to make his business fortune in India.

            Days after having finished reading The Pagoda Tree,I found myself still thinking about the forbidden love story, the tough circumstances described ,the sacrifices each of the main characters had to make. This is a touching novel, with deep feeling for its subject.
            You can watch the trailer and hear from the author herself by searching for: The Pagoda Tree by Claire Scobie on vimeo and you tube.

            Comment on this review

             
            4.0

            Devastating and beautiful!

            By 

            from Sydney, AU

            About Me Bookworm

            Pros

            • Engaging characters
            • Informative
            • Page-Turner
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Gift
              • Reference
              • Travel Reading

              Comments about The Pagoda Tree:

              I loved "The Pagoda Tree"! It was devastating in places, and shocking to learn in the sources listed at the back that some incidents were based on true events, but also beautiful, particularly the descriptions of dancing. It was a book I found I had to carry around with me, while dropping children off at school, walking to work. One of those books I just had to finish because ... well I just had to. Well done Claire Scobie on a great novel and I look forward to future writings.

              Comment on this review

               
              5.0

              This is a good read!

              By 

              from Sydney, AU

              About Me Bookworm

              Pros

              • Engaging characters
              • Well Written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Gift
                • Older Readers
                • Travel Reading

                Comments about The Pagoda Tree:

                I thoroughly enjoyed The Pagoda Tree. In fact, it was hard to put down at times, and the characters stayed with me through the day. Claire Scobie has a serious talent for storytelling, and for using detail to bring characters and places alive - it was easy to 'see' the story from the written word. I think anyone who loves good stories, historical novels or stories set in interesting times and places will love this book. I did.

                Comment on this review

                 
                5.0

                Words of magic and deep dangerous love

                By 

                from Sydney

                About Me Bookworm

                Pros

                • Deserves Multiple Readings
                • Easy To Read
                • Engaging characters
                • Informative
                • Page-Turner
                • Scenery Detail Skilled
                • Sumptuous And Vibrant
                • Transporting
                • Well Written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Culture Of India Study
                  • Gift
                  • History Of British Raj
                  • Older Readers
                  • Reference
                  • Travel Reading

                  Comments about The Pagoda Tree:

                  What a wonderful book Claire Scobie has written for us. She takes us into how it feels to be a dancer entering another level of consciousness, to become the dance. The way Claire Scobie describes the altered states and the connection Maya had to other dimensions was beautiful. And the sex scenes - so natural and lovely. The culture of India and the historical details of the time transported me into the heart of the period. With precision and an obvious love for her characters - she is giving us a taste of the best and the worst - with subtlety and respect. One of the best books I have read in years. Now I have that awful grief for the ending of an intense journey written so beautifully. And I want a follow up - I want to see what happens next and be there when it happens.

                  Comment on this review

                   
                  4.0

                  Beneath the Surface

                  By 

                  from Sydney. Australia when not in India

                  About Me Bookworm

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Read
                  • Engaging characters
                  • Informative
                  • Well Written

                  Cons

                  • A Bit Slow

                  Best Uses

                  • Gift
                  • Travel Reading

                  Comments about The Pagoda Tree:

                  Beneath the surface of this romantic tale lie lessons from history that highlight the pursuit of power and greed at any cost. Colonial and feudal mindsets, entrenched in rigid systems of class and caste, are strongly drawn and provide a dramatic contrast to an ephemeral world of beauty and vulnerability. The dance scenes are exquisitely haunting. I don't usually choose to read historical novels but Claire Scobie's diligent research gives this book great authenticity. A little slow to get going the story gradually wound me in and kept me in its grip until the last page. In the end the meta lessons inherent in the pursuit of power and greed are still as relevant now as they were then. I recommend this book as background reading for any traveler with India as a destination.

                  Comment on this review

                  Displaying reviews 1-8

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                  'Women's stories are rarely told in history, nor particularly honoured. The Pagoda Tree offers a powerful, sensual perspective on a time of great transformation in India.' - Sarah Macdonald, author of Holy Cow

                  ISBN: 9780670077335
                  ISBN-10: 067007733X
                  Audience: General
                  Format: Paperback
                  Language: English
                  Number Of Pages: 384
                  Published: 26th June 2013
                  Country of Publication: AU
                  Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.5  x 2.9
                  Weight (kg): 23.1
                  Edition Number: 1