East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


At last, The Far Pavilions

The_Far_PavilionsMy goodness, it’s been 18 months!
In January 2015, I announced my intention of reading M.M. Kaye’s The Far Pavilions1 as part of my reading list of adventure/historical novels set in India.
I got me a cheap, second-hand, printed-so-small-you’ll-burn-your-eyes hardback copy of the Italian translation2, and then all hell broke loose, my priorities changed, the book got buried at the bottom of my reading pile, and I picked it up again five days ago.
I’m going through it like a speeding train – basically because it’s a novel that reads like a breeze. It will be over by Wednesday.

Now, some personal background – I’m pretty sure my mother read The Far Pavilions when it came out in Italian in 1980. My aunt lent my mom her copy – I have this faint memory of the two of them talking about it. And both my mom and my aunt were into it because of the romantic element – about which, more later.

So, what’s the deal with The Far Pavilions? Continue reading

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Unknown binding – now known

mK8iWxOLZpc2o3gdQJsx6lwAs I mentioned in a comment to a previous post, my copy of The Far Pavillions arrived this morning, and this solved the mystery of the unknown binding.
The book is a sturdy hardback, originally published in 1981 by an Italian mail order book club. Not very exciting, for an unknown whatever, but it’s ok.
Including the postage expenses it cost me less than half the English paperback (that was, in turn, two bucks cheaper than the ebook), and if the cover is pretty blah, well, it’s the story that counts, right? Continue reading


The Far Pavilions, the Musical

So I decided to read a few books about India in 2015.
I’ve been trying to track a cheap copy of M.M. Kaye‘s The Far Pavilions for a while.
I was about to get me a paperback copy in English when I tracked a fine used copy of the Italian edition for about five bucks.
“Unknown binding” it said in the seller’s description… ah, the thrill of a small mystery.

Meanwhile, I found out a musical was made of this big romantic melodramatic adventure novel – after all, the theme was well suited to a stage adaptation with song and dance.

And here’s a few songs from the West End production – that despite what the poster said, did not last.
I usually find modern musicals weirdly disquieting – the adaptation of Hugo, Dickens and, indeed, Kaye, gives us people singing about pretty grim stuff.
And yet, Melodrama’s so much fun, as the poet said