In the India of 1942, two rapes take place simultaneously - that of an English girl in Mayapore, and that of India by the British. In each, physical violence, racial animosity, the coercion of the weak by the strong all play their part, but playing a part too are love, affection, loyalty, and recognition that the last division of all to be overcome is the colour of the skin. The whole spectrum of Anglo-Indian relations is vividly evoked in a brilliant assessment of emotions, personal clashes and historical reasons that eventually prised India - the jewel in the Imperial Crown - from its setting.
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Great Audio Book!
This is one to get
I would listen to this again as it seems so rich in human experience that I expect to find more in it every time I read it.
It's often compared to A Passage To India, but Paul Scott's knowledge and interest in both India and the Raj clearly dwarfs Forster's. Forster's book is largely satire (and written long before the tragedies Scott describes), whereas Scott's much longer work feels populated with real people in serious situations.
It made me laugh and cry, in equal measure.
Sam Dastor was born to narrate this book -- his astonishing mastery of a wide range of British and Indian accents, as well as characters, is unparallelled in my experience. Please somebody persuade him to perform the last three books in the series. I cannot imagine anyone else ever coming up to his standard.