THE GLASS PALACE
BY AMITAV GHOSH
Don’t be daunted by its length, The Glass Palace is a wonderfully absorbing story following three generations of an Indian/Burmese family from the end of the 19th century until the end of the 20th – ideal for lovers of historical fiction and a super summer book club choice, when the holiday season presents the perfect opportunity for this epic adventure.
The story begins with two young abandoned individuals who are forced to make their own way in the world. Rajkumar, an Indian orphan, finds himself looking for work in Mandalay. Whilst Dolly is brought from the frontier town of Lashio to work as a maid for Queen Supayalat, wife of King Thebaw, the last King of Burma. When the Royal family is banished by the British to Ratnagiri in India, Dolly knowing no other life, goes with them. The families’ lives inevitably become intertwined and their story is set against the history of Burma’s ever evolving political strife stemming from Britain’s occupation and then India’s military obligations with Britain in the country thereafter.
The Den loved this book because the writing is so seductive and teaches you about the history of Burma and Malaya over a period of immense change without bombarding you with all the facts. The ending disappointed us slightly as it tries to wrap up all the loose ends too quickly, but overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable read with some unexpected surprises along the way.
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