Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1973 Booker Prize Winner

The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell


Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Length: 400 pages

About: Indian Mutiny hits remote town

Style: 3rd person

Where: India

When: 1857



Publisher’s synopsis:

India, 1857 - the year of the Great Mutiny, when Muslim soldiers turned into bloody rebellion on their British overlords. The Siege of Krishnapur is set in an isolated Victorian outpost on the subcontinent. Rumours of strife filter in from afar and yet the members of the colonial community remains confident of their military and above all, moral superiority. But when they find themselves under actual siege, the true character of their dominion ... at once brutal, blundering, and wistful ... is soon revealed.



 Now withe creaking of loose shutters and the sighing of the wind in the tall grass, the cantonment has the air of a place you might see in a melcahlony dream; a visitor might well find himself reminded of the 'City of the Silent' he had passed on his way to Krishanapur.




It is caustic and woundingly compassionate, it delights in uncovering the opposite of what it purports to say, and is sometimes so blunt as to stop the reader in his tracks... Mr Farrell alternatively contents himself with an outrageous laugh, or carries the phrase to an unexpected and totally original coclusion.

Times Literary Supplement 21st September 1973



Not so good:

This was a book I was interested to discover what the British did in India. I was left feeling that the book was an overlong and overdetailed exposition of a situation that the inhabitants, mostly unremarkable, had brought on themselves. The people in question seemed to me on the whole to be second rate, enjoying a standard of living made possible for them by the almost slave labour of the local inhabitants.

Amazon review VM Pountney 11th July 2009


About the author

J G Farrell was born in Liverpool in January 1935. In 1956 he went to study at Brasenose College, Oxford; it was while there he contracted polio. He drew heavily on his experience for his second novel, The Lung (1965). His novel, Troubles (1970), the first in the Empire trilogy, won the Faber Memorial Prize in 1971. A film version of Troubles was made for British television in 1988. J G Farrell died in 1979.


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Age guide: 15






Novels by same author:


 A Man from Elsewhere (1963)

The Lung (1965)

A Girl in the Head (1967)

Troubles (1970)

The Singapore Grip (1978)

Published posthumously

 The Pussycat Who Fell in Love with a Suitcase.   (1973–74)

The Hill Station; and An Indian Diary, unfinished, edited by John Spurling. (1981)







None to date













2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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