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.
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.
Yay and nay, therefore 3 stars in my rating , despite raving reviews this book has received.
The interesting pieces are captivating and intriquing, giving a background of Indian history during the time of the British Raj, and of traditional Hindu customs with particular emphasis on the caste system, and the custom of suttee - the wife following the husband to his funeral pyre.
I love long books, provided my attention is held for the duration. But my attention wanders over what seem like endless stretches of descriptive narrative. When the guy sits in the grass all night listening for the sound of an enemy's footsteps, describing each painful hour. Or the landscape is endlessly described. Then I realise I stopped listening way back, rewind, only to find that I missed nothing of any relevance. Frankly, I run out of patience.
I also love books with an Indian flavour. But this is too much. Too much India, too much cavalry, too much dying of people I've lost track of and don't really care about.
By comparison, another book with an Indian background is "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese, narrated BySartaj Garewal, which deserved 5+ stars, in my opinion.
Vikas Adam has done an admirable job in narrating The Far Pavilions, with only a few minor glitches in accent and emphasis.
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.
"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.
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.
Ultimate love story
The Princess Bride, love against impossible odds.
LoL...if I could stay awake that long
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.
Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!
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.
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.
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!!
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.
"Lovely story. Shame about the narration!!!"
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.
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!
"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.
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!
"Excellent book pity about the pronunciation"
Yes, because the story transports you back in time to the Raj.
Ashok. Just watching him mature.
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.
Would have enjoyed the book more with a different narrator.
"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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