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The Siege Of Krishnapur

The Booker Prize, 1973

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474613965

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 5th August 2021

Genre: Fiction & Related Items

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‘We look on past ages with condescension, as a mere preparation for us… but what if we are a mere after-glow of them?’

Krishnapur, 1857: India is on the brink of a violent and bloody mutiny. In this remote town on the vast North Indian plain, life for the British is still orderly and genteel. But when the sepoys at the nearest military cantonment rise in revolt, the British community retreats with shock into the Residency. They prepare to fight for their lives with what weapons they can muster.

As food and ammunition grow short when the British find themselves under actual siege, the true character of their dominion – at once brutal, blundering and wistful – is soon revealed.

‘An idiosyncratic masterpiece, wise and richly comic’ Hilary Mantel


While I can't categorically state it's the best book ever, I find it hard to think of one that I prefer. One that does more as a work of fiction, or that says more about our flawed humanity . . . The Siege of Krishnapur is a superb portrayal of physical horrors and psychological fallout . . . [It] is wonderfully funny, written with devastating wit and rambunctious humanity. I can't praise it enough - and I can't push it enough
Sam Jordison, Guardian
Inspired, funny but ultimately tragic look at colonialism in India. It has an unusual exuberance
Mariella Frostrup
For a novel to be witty is one thing, to tell a good story is another, to be serious is yet another, but to be all three is surely enough to make it a masterpiece
New Statesman
A novel of quite outstanding quality
The Times