Flashback Friday: The Far Pavilions

Flashback Friday is my own little weekly tradition, in which I pick a book from my reading past to highlight — and you’re invited to join in!

Here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:

  1. Has to be something you’ve read yourself
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

My pick for this week’s Flashback Friday:

The Far Pavilions

The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye

(first published 1978)

From Goodreads:

After the death of his parents, young Ashton Pelham-Martyn is brought up as a Hindu in a remote corner of British India. As an adult soldier he returns to India, where his love for a princess and his dual heritage make for an epic story of adventure and romance.

This is a huge book, somewhere around 1,000 pages depending on which version you pick up, so in terms of bookshelf space and usefulness as a doorstop, right up there with the Game of Thrones books (yes, I know that’s not what they’re called, but it’s quicker to type) and my beloved Outlander series.

I remember absolutely loving The Far Pavilions when I read it so many years ago. It really is a perfect blend of historical fiction — depicting life and society in India under the British Empire — with a stirring, romantic tale of forbidden love. Ash is a wonderful character, a British boy raised by his Indian nurse after his own parents’ death, with conflicting loyalties and a confused identity. We see him through his youth, his return to British society, and his military service, and his reunion with a long-lost childhood love and his desperate attempt to save her from a cruel fate. The love story of Ash and Anjuli belongs among the ranks of the best tortured, tragic, against-all-odds lovers in fiction.

The Far Pavilions was published during a decade in which big, sweeping historical sagas were dominating the bestseller lists. In a time in which Shogun by James Clavell, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk were all hugely popular, it makes sense that so many were drawn to The Far Pavilions as well.

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join the Flashback Friday fun, write a blog post about a book you love (please mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the Flashback Friday host!) and share your link below. Don’t have a blog post to share? Then share your favorite oldie-but-goodie in the comments section. Jump in!

4 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The Far Pavilions

    • I’d forgotten about it until recently, when I was digging out a copy of The Thorn Birds and starting thinking about all those big historical sagas that were just soooo romantic. It’s a good one!

  1. I really like the idea of Flashback Fridays. I am going to try to get my act together to participate next week. Since I tend to read books that were published decades ago, so I will have lots to choose from.

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