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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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Velan
  • Oregon City, OR, United States
  • 02-19-13

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.

51 of 52 people found this review helpful

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  • Erica
  • ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, United States
  • 07-01-13

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.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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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.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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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.<br/>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.<br/>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!!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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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.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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An extraordinary book!


I love this epic story. I will listen to it more than once.
Incredible depth and complexity. Beautiful scenes and great plot.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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...

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Joodee
  • Cincinnati, OH United States
  • 05-17-15

Sweeping tale of India

The best kind of historical fiction. Tale of a young man growing up in two cultures. The characters are vivid, the time and place seem so real, the story moves at just the right speed. The narrator is excellent.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Very long but, so very very good.

I love historical fiction, and this book was no disappointment. I learned a lot about India, and Afghanistan . the characters are engaging and fascinating . Being torn between two different worlds and not fitting in anywhere must be so difficult .

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • MaDr8y
  • 06-19-13

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!

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs. Linda Hall
  • 04-13-14

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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs H J Morrow
  • 01-18-15

Brilliant book

I read this book many years ago and was delighted to find it in the Audible collection. Really couldn't bare to stop listening and feel bereft now it is finished.
My only tiny gripe is the accents the American narrator tried poorly to emulate - his Irish accent was almost funny at times. I did get used to it though and it didn't spoil this fantastic story!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr
  • 07-20-15

An epic story

If you could sum up The Far Pavilions in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, evocative, gripping

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The escape from Bithor

Any additional comments?

This is a very long, sweeping saga that encompasses colonial India in a very nuanced way considering it's time.apart from some odd pronunciation errors the narration is excellent

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-20-13

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!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss D Srao
  • 03-13-17

Fabulous story but TERRIBLE narration

This is a great story, highs and lows, tears and laughter, but what ruined it throughout was the excruciatingly bad narration. The English accent was American/Canadian, and the Welsh and Irish accents were like nails down a blackboard. They were appalling in fact and totally distracted from the story. It was a 5 star book but the narration ruined it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris B
  • 09-09-16

The Far Pavilions

What made the experience of listening to The Far Pavilions the most enjoyable?

Great story - especially given the English / Indian contrast and Ash's position between them

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The English accent and pronunciation occasionally grated and was far too american to be believable as upper class 19th century English.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth M
  • 07-20-15

Magnificent - "unputdownable"

What made the experience of listening to The Far Pavilions the most enjoyable?

Wonderful story - quite gripping - and what a history lesson. Politicians should take note before they ever consider sending our troops into Afghanistan again - nothing there has changed!!

What did you like best about this story?

I was there - sitting on the characters shoulders, watching it all happen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • heather
  • 06-17-14

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison
  • 04-09-13

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!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 12-23-16

pretty good

Overall this book did its job. I was after a long book to listen to when driving. and, for the most part, the storyline and writing style kept me interested. There was a definite dip with about 13 hours to go when I was tempted to give up but it picked up again after that so I'm glad I finished it.

I wouldn't specifically pick another book with this narrator. Some of the voices he used for characters were spot on but some others were difficult to put up with and his yearning tone was a real distraction at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Janice YAPI
  • 04-20-16

Did not want it to stop.

Brilliant story, brave and courageous characters definitely worth the time.
As being mixed races myself I could relate to the gut feeling of not belonging to either one side or the other, but learning and accepting to be me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jordan
  • 11-22-17

Amazing Story of Cultural Identity

The story is great written with incredible detail and accuracy. The narrator did his research aswell, great voices, accents, and songs sung in tune.