Deborah Moggach recommends 'The Siege of Krishnapur' by J.G. Farrell
"There are many, many novels set in India that I love, most of them by Indian writers. I’m choosing, however, this wonderful story by an Irish novelist because it sees a tumultuous event in that continent’s history through the eyes of an assorted and mis-matched bunch of Europeans. It’s 1857, and in the fictional town of Krishnapur the placid life of the British community is shattered by what became known as the Indian Mutiny. Under siege, the old Victorian values crumble as the residents not only fight for their lives, but fall out with each other and, in one case, fall in love. It’s touching, hilarious and constantly surprising, and it deservedly won the Booker Prize in 1973."
About the book
The year is 1857. In Krishnapur the British community carries on its serene existence, complacently ignoring the rumours of trouble among the native troops elsewhere in Hindustan. Life is dull, but the trappings of Civilization must be earnestly preserved. Only the Collector, Mr Hopkins, senses danger. When the sepoys in the nearby cantonment rise in bloody revolt, the British retreat in shocked confusion to the residency. Crowded behind makeshift barricades, surrounded by the Collector’s varied mementoes of the Great Exhibition, they set themselves grimly to fight for their lives – and for their way of life – with every means at their disposal.
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About Deborah Moggach
Deborah Moggach’s novels include The Stand-In, In The Dark, Tulip Fever and These Foolish Things. Her film and television adaptations include Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate and Anne Fine’s Goggle-Eyes, which won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Adapted TV Serial. Her screenplay for the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley, was nominated for a BAFTA and in 2008 she adapted The Diary of Anne Frank for BBC1.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the feature adaptation of Deborah's novel These Foolish Things, was released in the UK in February 2012 to great box office success. The film stars Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Celia Imrie. Deborah's next novel will be published in early 2013.