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The Far Pavilions | [M. M. Kaye]

The Far Pavilions

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  •  
    Velan Oregon City, OR, United States 02-19-13
    Velan Oregon City, OR, United States 02-19-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    Story
    "Heroism, adventure, sadistic cruelty, and love."
    Any additional comments?

    This book is altogether, a gripping adventure, and a story about conflicting personal identity. I first read this book over twenty years ago and remembered it as one of my all time favorites. I was shocked to discover no reviews had been written for this wonderful novel. If you decide to listen to this book you will not disappointed. The descriptions of India are breath-taking and rival the tales of that country written by Bryce Courtenay. Surprisingly, listening to the audio version was better than reading it. The Indian accents used in the narration made it utterly enjoyable. It is the story of an English boy born to a father who studies the people and dialects found in the foothills of the Himalayas. He becomes orphaned during a cholera outbreak around age 4 and has only an Indian nurse to aid him in his survival. It is a huge book but worth every page and not difficult to get through. The Far Pavilions is simply one of the best epic novels ever written. There is a ghastly description of the practice of Suttee; the burning alive of high born Hindu women on their husband's funeral pyre. But it is not too descriptive and gives a fascinating glimpse into the practice of Suttee. If you like tales of heroism, adventure, cruelty, survival, and love, you will not be disappointed.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Novie Kailua Kona, HI, United States 05-20-13
    Novie Kailua Kona, HI, United States 05-20-13

    Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very entertaining read!"

    I had seen this book in a Showtime mini-series portrayal back in 1984. It's offered now on Netflix, and I revisited it again after purchasing the audible book. It is a great story, either way, and I can't say that one was better than the other.

    As it is in many book-to-movie transitions, some key elements are left out and the timeline is altered. The book was lovely, just lovely until the rescue of Anjuli from the suttee ritual. The storyline is so much more fleshed out, and I was just swept away to 1860s India. The narrator had much to do with this. His wonderful Indian accent was seamless and so real. He even spoke the women's parts so believably. Charming all the way through.

    However, I did find the book rather tedious after the rescue. It seemed to drag on. I think that the mini-series did a better job incorporating all the Afghanistan fighting before the rescue. I have to admit I played it at 2x speed a couple of times, because I really wanted to know what happened, I just didn't want to experience every bloody blow in real time. I will read it again in the future, because the narration was so good, the forbidden romance was so good, and Ash's back story, which was quite skimmed over in the mini-series, was very interesting.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah United States 03-02-13
    Sarah United States 03-02-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    Story
    "Swept Away again and again"
    If you could sum up The Far Pavilions in three words, what would they be?

    Ultimate love story


    What other book might you compare The Far Pavilions to and why?

    The Princess Bride, love against impossible odds.


    Which character – as performed by Vikas Adam – was your favorite?

    Ashton


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    LoL...if I could stay awake that long


    Any additional comments?

    You will fall in love with the rich description of India. You will see it through the eyes of Ashton Martin and the hills and palaces will be almost real. You will watch a character develope into a man, fall in love and fight almost impossible odds. The wars, caste system, bravery, and loyalty make it an adventurous read. Ashton and Anjulie's love make it unforgettable. It is to this day my favorite book, and I've read a lot of books.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Simond Pontiac, MI 07-08-13
    E. Simond Pontiac, MI 07-08-13

    ellykat

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible Saga, don't miss it!"

    I didn't realize until after finishing this book, that in 1984 it was made into a tv mini series starring Ben Cross, in 2005 a musical, and in 2011 a radio drama for Britian's BBC. The author used her personal childhood experiences and parts of her grandfather's biography to create this memorable masterpiece. I'm now searching for another book to fill it's shoes, no luck yet. I might have to listen again.

    It takes place during the British Raj (British domination) in India. Ash was born Ashton Pelham-Martyn to two British citizens living in India shortly before the Indian Rebellion of 1857. By the time he's a toddler, both are deceased and he's left alone with only his Hindu nanny, Sita, to care for him. She disguises him as Hindu to basically save his life. After Sita dies, he becomes Ashton once again and the story deepens as does his life. Sit back and get ready to go on this "page turning" adventure with this impulsive young man who wears his heart on his sleeve, upholds fairness and justice in all he encounters while he thumbs his nose at authority, periodically. His love for a princess from his childhood, Anjuli, eventually becomes his driving force. She's a lucky girl, and you'll see why..

    The book is an education in British-Indian history interlaced with love, friendship, loyality,
    race, religion, bigotry, racism, a look into Indian royality, and the caste system. Don't be overwhelmed by the many characters and their names. Don't be afraid to rewind. I really don't think you'll mind. The narrator was great, but I wasn't that swept with the female voices. It wasn't enough to detract from the book however. It is one I'll remember and recommend.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter Austin, TX, USA 04-09-13
    Walter Austin, TX, USA 04-09-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Read"

    I read this book years ago when if first came out and liked it then. Rereading, listening to it on Audible, prompted me to pick the book up again as well.

    I have recomended this book to a number of people who have no knowledge of "The Great Game" and it's relevance to the events of the last ten years in the former Raj.

    The story is one third romance, one third adventure, and one third serious history of the Second Afgan War. I have read quotes from a number of British officers from that war that sound like they could have been made today.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, United States 07-01-13
    Erica ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, United States 07-01-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Enjoyed every second of this 49 hour listen"

    I read this once, long ago, and remembered loving it. I keep an eye out for M. M. Kaye on audible and was really excited to see this become available. I was worried that I had built the novel up in my head and wouldn't enjoy it as much the second time around, but my fears were completely unfounded. Gripping, well-written main story, interesting time period as a backdrop and great narration. You won't be sorry.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Cambridge, Ontario, Canada 05-25-13
    Amazon Customer Cambridge, Ontario, Canada 05-25-13 Member Since 2009

    wordhog

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "THIS IS NO ORDINARY NOVEL!!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Far Pavilions the most enjoyable?

    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.......


    What other book might you compare The Far Pavilions to and why?

    Shantaram


    Have you listened to any of Vikas Adam’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not yet


    Who was the most memorable character of The Far Pavilions and why?

    Ashton


    Any additional comments?

    I wish there were a zillion more M. M. Kaye novels hidden somewhere and we just found them. I can dream!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie C. 05-05-14
    Julie C. 05-05-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easily the best audiobook I've ever listened to!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Far Pavilions the most enjoyable?

    The narrator! I'm in love! He can do thrilling, scary, tender, political, introspective or descriptive scenes and make you feel you're there--in the scene and in the character's mind. His accents are great and he does both male and female voices well.

    The book! I'm in love with the book, too! It has everything--adventure, intrigue, romance, philosophy, character. I particularly like novels that contain truth and beauty in addition to a well-told story. This novel is about the need of humankind for unity instead of prejudice, and it winds it's way to that truth in beautiful descriptions as well as a gripping storyline. Only once or twice did I guess what was going to happen next; mostly I was surprised, which I liked.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The value placed on characters with moral virtue.


    Have you listened to any of Vikas Adam’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but now I will! Please ask him to narrate A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry--he would be perfect!


    Any additional comments?

    49 hours was not long enough for this book. I would have been happy if it went on for another 49. I'm so sad that it ended, but so glad that I listened to it.

    As with other listeners, the long battle scenes at the end were not my favorite part of the book, but they were still good. They kept my interest, in fact, better than the long battle scenes near the end of War and Peace (which I read years ago and have not yet listened to). I was a little surprised that a female author wrote such involved battle scenes, in fact, but maybe that's why I found them a bit more palatable than I find battle scenes in general.

    Overall, this book is beautiful, wise, and occasionally funny. It is also much like real life in the sense that it shows people picking their way through the entanglements of their relationships and society, making good choices and bad ones since they cannot see into the future, and taking the consequences of all their choices. It demonstrates the importance of integrity, honesty, compassion and tolerance. Thankfully we don't all have to brave danger and intrigue at every turn like the characters in this book (we do, but not at the life-and-death level), but we do all have to suffer through our tests in life and come out the other end with wisdom and compassion instead of bitterness and selfishness, so in that sense the story mirrored reality and was uplifting at the same time.

    Maybe I should study archetypes a little more because I noticed that Ashok/Ashton was very much like Harry Potter in that his impulsivity gets him into trouble but his good character gets him out again, and Anjuli is much like Dorothea in Middlemarch in that her tolerance, patience and kindness get her into trouble because they carry naiveté with them, but as she continues to think about what she sees, she becomes wise enough to make better decisions for herself. I wonder if there are more such characters out there in the literary world because they're in all of us. Just a thought...

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Sebastopol, Australia 11-11-13
    Karen Sebastopol, Australia 11-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Wonderful. Excellent."

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 05-06-13
    Neil Chisholm Buninyong, Australia 05-06-13 Member Since 2011

    "fabric artist and quilter"

    HELPFUL VOTES
    237
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    93
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    "A Romantic Epic"

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 18 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • MaDr8y
    Cambs., UK
    6/19/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lovely story. Shame about the narration!!!"
    What did you like best about The Far Pavilions? What did you like least?

    I have known and loved this story for more than twenty years. Despite misgivings about the sound of the story when I listened to the excerpt, I went ahead and bought this title because I just wanted it to be all right.


    What didn’t you like about Vikas Adam’s performance?

    Oh, dear. Why, oh why use someone of Indian origin (fine and appropriate) but with an American accent(!) to read a story of an English boy raised as an Indian in the aftermath of the Great Mutiny, then sent to England to be educated as his father's son, returning to India as an English army officer? The narrator just sounds so wrong whenever he speaks as an English person.....there are so many American-style mispronunciations to an English ear (Torquay = Torkway / Torkay; roan = rowan; subaltern = subALLtern; route = rout, etc., etc., etc...) and he has no idea at all of how well-spoken English people of the mid-19th century would have sounded. For example, poor Wally, who we are told lapsed into "occasional use of brogue", comes over as comic 'Oirish' every time he opens his mouth. Admittedly, I now know that 'Zarin' shoul be pronounced as 'Zareen', but that is not enough to make up for all the cringing I am doing as I listen.Such a shame!


    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    UK
    2/20/13
    Overall
    "Wonderful book, beautifully read"

    This is a wonderful story set in India at the time of the 1857 Mutiny. It is an epic story of romance, love, war and friendship which you will find hard to put down, and even harder to forget. I have read this many times but this is the first time I have been able to listen to it as an audiobook, and I have not been disappointed. The reader - Vikas Adam - is excellent, bringing the story and characters to life.

    Highly recommended!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    SELBY, United Kingdom
    4/9/13
    Overall
    "Loved it!"

    I read this book when it first came out and really enjoyed it - so it was great to find it in a different format that I can now enjoy while at the gym. It's a long, long book but this simply means the opportunity to get more depth into the characters. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Linda Hall
    North East England
    4/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent book pity about the pronunciation"
    Would you listen to The Far Pavilions again? Why?

    Yes, because the story transports you back in time to the Raj.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ashok. Just watching him mature.


    What aspect of Vikas Adam’s performance might you have changed?

    His pronunciation. For goodness sake the word Quayside was pronounced Kwayside instead of Keyside. Same with Torquey. Other words too many to mention. His voice did not reflect the depth of character of Ashok and others.


    Any additional comments?

    Would have enjoyed the book more with a different narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crime Fiction Groupie
    High Wycombe, United Kingdom
    8/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hours of listening pleasure"

    I read this originally when it was published, so was happy to find it here, especially given its length and my upcoming holidays! It not only lasted over two weeks, but for another couple of weeks of commuting. The narrator did a pretty good job - although as others have commented, he did make a meal of some of the pronunciations, and his Wally accent was just cringe-worthy.
    Its a great story, although if I am honest, I did find myself wishing for some shortening in places. It did prompt me to do some online reading about the region and the history though, to find out how much was true and how much was artistic license.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • heather
    Rochdale, United Kingdom
    6/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Epic Tale"

    A wonderful story of India during the Raj the politics the backstabbing and intrigue all rolled into a tale of innocence danger love lost, love found, and love forbidden.Well read apart from a few misprenunciations eg Himalayas pronounced Him-Are-Lee-Has,but easily forgiven as you can think of the narrator as Ash himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • eatough1999
    Northumberland, UK
    5/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding work of historical fiction"

    My first venture into the works of M M Kaye and I am hooked!

    The storyline drew me in and kept me captivated for the most part (some sections could have been shortened but this is nit-picking). I found myself rooting for the main characters in the sense that I wanted them to succeed in their endeavours. There are multiple layers of thought going on through the book mainly to do with culture, differing attitudes, the right to impose systems on a foreign culture or not? Scenes of violence, isolation, wandering, death, destruction, with the thread of romance deftly woven so as not to be over infused.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the narration by Vikas Adam

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • George
    Cambridge UK
    3/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jo baker
    Portsmouth, United Kingdom
    1/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic!"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Caroline
    LANGEAIS, France
    9/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful story"
    Would you listen to The Far Pavilions again? Why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Far Pavilions to, and why?

    Can't compare, it's a story on it's own.


    What does Vikas Adam bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    His wonderful, rich accent, it's glorious to listen to, really bringing the story to life.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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