In the Spring of 1857, with India on the brink of a violent and bloody mutiny, Krishnapur is a remote town on the vast North Indian plain. For the British there, life is orderly and genteel. Then the sepoys at the nearest military cantonment rise in revolt and the British community retreats with shock into the Residency.
They prepare to fight for their lives with what weapons they can muster. As food and ammunition grow short, the Residency, its defences battered by shot and shell and eroded by the rains, becomes ever more vulnerable. The Siege of Krishnapur is a modern classic of narrative excitement that also digs deep to explore some fundamental questions of civilisation and life.
The best of all the Booker winners (from 1973). This is a novel not so much about personal relationships (though these are important) nor about an actual historical event (though the setting is the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58) as about an atmosphere, a climate of tension. Farrell transported me to a place in India under siege so completely that I swear I felt the heat, the fear, the thirst, and had forced upon me, as the characters described do, agonizing decisions to do with what constitutes Good as opposed to Evil. Review by Margaret Forster, whose books include 'The Memory Box' (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: September 2008
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.217