When The Far Pavilions was first published 19 years ago, it moved the critic Edmund Fuller to write this: "Were Miss Kaye to produce no other book, The Far Pavilions might stand as a lasting accomplishment in a single work comparable to Margaret Mitchell's achievement in Gond With the Wind." From its beginning in the foothills of the towering Himalayas, M. M. Kaye's masterwork is a vast, rich, and vibrant tapestry of love and war that ranks with the greatest panoramic sagas of modern fiction.
The Far Pavilions is itself a Himalayan achievement, a book we hate to see come to an end. it is a passionate, triumphant story that excites us, fills us with joy, move us to tears, satisfies us deeply, and helps us remember just what it is we want most from a novel.
©1978 M.M. Kaye (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
History, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy
This book really does have it all but spends more than it's fair share of time with the tensions brought on by the British influence in India and Pakistan and not enough time in my opinion revealing the very interesting and rich cultures of the region. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of grand descriptive prose here but it leans heavily on the military aspects. By the time you finish this book you feel that you may have traversed from Bombay to the Hindu Kush and back again yourself. It is exhausting, it is huge, and it is definitely written richly and beautifully for the indulgent and appreciative reader/listener. It is a marvel.
If there could be a perfect novel, or book, than this is it. Everything you have ever wanted in a story is written on over 900 pages and it brought tears to my eyes to see it finally offered on Audible.
I have read this novel many times and everything else by M.M. Kaye, it is like finding a long lost friend and though I haven`t even listened to this program yet, I already know that it will be the best 48 hours of my reading history.
This is an epic story that covers ever emotion known to man, transporting you to far away places and lingers on your mind long after it ends.......
I wish there were a zillion more M. M. Kaye novels hidden somewhere and we just found them. I can dream!!
"fabric artist and quilter"
This is a HUGE book - at 80 hrs long its a commitment but for your money its excellent value as there are not just one story but many stories all of them well written and reasonably well told by Vikas Adam (although his british accent was woeful). There were slightly dull passages, there were incredibly exciting passages and there were boring bits that connected the stories.
M M Kaye published this as just the one massive book but in reality it could easily have been 4 big books. I think it would have been a better tale if it had been 4 books as the dull passages would have had to be more interesting to keep the reader reading.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and the final story of the Second Afghan war and the mission to Kabul was wonderfully written and terribly exciting - as a piece of descriptive writing it was amongst the best I heard. Sadly the end was predictable, soppy and very abrupt and it left me feeling disappointed that the ends weren't more appropriately tied off.
I'd recommend this book to those interested in life in the British Raj of 1870s, romantics who are looking for more than a bodice ripper and those who enjoy a long tale with lots of characters.
Great story and historically accurate. We learned so much about the culture and society. Should be in the top 10 of historical novels.
It took nearly 5 months, but I have finally finished this epic tale of star-crossed lovers searching for a place to belong, set amid the political intrigues, cruelties and hubris of the British Raj. At almost 49 hours, it's by far the longest audiobook I've yet tackled. Narrator Vikas Adam was an expert guide, and much of the story had me utterly captivated. But this novel had a couple of glaring flaws that kept me from giving it 5 stars (although, in the end, it did seem to add up to more than the sum of its parts).
I will leave a detailed recounting of the plot to other reviewers. At the heart of the story is the struggle of Ashton Pelham Martin, born British but raised Indian, to reconcile the two halves of himself. His beloved, Anjuli, gives the book its soul. A neglected Indian princess, she too is "half caste," valued solely for the emotional support she gives her spoiled, volatile younger sister, Shushila. The same intolerance and prejudice that makes both Ash and Juli outcasts in their own country, places seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the path of their love.
The story managed to have both a breathtaking scope - sweeping from the Himalayas to the parched deserts of India and back again to the Hindu Kush - and a remarkable intimacy, revealing the private inner lives of a huge cast of characters. The novel highlighted how people find both comfort and frustration in cultural customs and traditions. They give human beings a place to belong while simultaneously limiting and stifling them.
Despite all of the other compelling characters, Ash and Juli's saga was so central to the book's emotional core that the story lost its way when its focus shifted to the Second Afghan War and the ill-fated British mission to Kabul. Try as I might, I was not as engrossed in the fate of Lt. Walter Hamilton, Ash's best friend, especially as both Ash and Juli were relegated to the role of bystanders. The final quarter of the book dragged, taking me a few weeks to finish. I wish M.M. Kaye had used that section as the basis for a second book, rather than trying to shoehorn it into Ash and Juli's story.
The key figures in the siege against the British mission were based on real people. Therefore, the story seemed unnecessarily padded in this final section, as if Kaye were just marking time to arrive at the major historical events. Throughout the book, she also showed a weakness for heavy-handed foreshadowing, to the point I could predict major plot twists long before they happened. In the final quarter, she beat the reader over the head with it, until I was almost relieved to finally reach the end (where I felt Ash and Juli's story was wrapped up too hastily).
However, the book's many strengths made it compelling and worthwhile, and I'll probably listen to or read the story again someday. Vikas Adam was an extraordinary narrator, giving consistent, distinctive voices to all of the characters. I especially loved how he used different accents for Ash, depending on whether he was thinking or speaking in English or in an Indian dialect.
This was a wonderful book. I spent the month of October enjoying the adventures of Ashton Pelham-Martyn as he grew up in 19th century Northern India as a member of the English Army stationed in India. I learned a great deal while listening to this amazing book. I won't retell the story but I listened to every word. I researched the people and events that were truthfully stated by the author. It was time well spent and I recommend it highly. I listened every day for one to three hours. It was a commitment, but a worthwhile one. I'm so glad I chose this book from Audible.
Ashton Pelham-Martyn - the main character.
No, I haven't listened to Vikas Adam previously. He was fantastic. His pronunciations and accents for the many ancillary characters were superb.
Don't make a film. It already was one. I do NOT plan to see it. I am leaving the book in my head - not on film.
Thank you, Audible.
I "found" this book years ago and have re-read and handed off copies to friends, something about it calls to me. Totally enjoyed being able to listen after having read it several times in the past. The narration was excellent. I love the characters and the whole story of the british going into Afghanistan, begs the old adage "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
Highly recommend, absolutely love this story!
I read The Far Pavilions many years ago. To listen to it now was ....... Can't put it into words. Fantastic. I was taken to India whenever I was listening. The reader was excellent. He did voices of the characters very convincingly , they were outstanding. Loved it.
"A marathon but worth the journey!"
An epic tale of love and struggle, set in the sweeping history of India's past
"The Far Pavilions"
Great story - especially given the English / Indian contrast and Ash's position between them
The English accent and pronunciation occasionally grated and was far too american to be believable as upper class 19th century English.
Far more enjoyable that the film, since the book is able to provide far more detail and context of Ash's experiences growing up in both India and England.
"Romance and adventure at their best!"
Every bit as delightful as the first time I read this over 30 years ago. The detail is excellent and the narrative so precise I can almost smell India, hear the sounds and feel the heat. Well worth a read. The narrator's accents were not perfect but it did sound as though he was enjoying the story too.
"One point could have transformed the telling of this amazing epic"
Loved this story since I first read it as a child. Listening to it years later there was so much I missed and enjoyed it thoroughly. It is a mammoth undertaking to convert the original book to audio but I am so glad that the publishers/producers did. I did expect either English or Indian accents throughout so was surprised to hear a slight American accent and odd neither English nor Indian pronunciations of words. Maybe my ignorance of the narrator, maybe a different author would have been better - from my perspective at least. It's a petty point.
A wonderful story that had me captivated all the way through. It was beautifully read.
he was great at Indian accent but the Irish was more Scottish but as book
is mostly indan I didn't mind
"A ripping yarn, shame about the reader"
This is a great story, and whilst not being classic literature, captivates the listener from beginning to end. It's immense but usually gripping and you don't notice the length of the book. I have to agree with the reviewers who comment on the choice of narrator. To be fair to Mr Adam, he does the Indian accent very well, and fortunately most of the dialogue is between native Indian speakers. But he really struggles with the English colonists and his Irish accent is truly laughable. It's a shame because it intrudes with the story. They really should have tried someone like Sam Dastor, who did such a wonderful job narrating A Passage to India and who had the same challenges. But it's worth listening to all the same, and maybe the English (and the Irish!) would be the only ones to notice.
Brilliant story, really involving and will give you something to listen to for hours. Not sure about narration at the beginning as I thought it sounded a bit American, but I didn't need to worry! Narration turned out to definitely be the right choice and really added to the experience.
Absolutely, I read it the first time over 20 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it again. There is so much detail and with Ash's life taking so many twists and turns it was like having several books in one.
Can't compare, it's a story on it's own.
His wonderful, rich accent, it's glorious to listen to, really bringing the story to life.
No not really, it's far too long, so wouldn't be possible and in any case, I enjoyed making it last and didn't want it to end.
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