From John's list on fiction set in Southeast Asia throughout time.
I love how this novel veers between the comic (the preening self-importance of a British family that runs a trading company) and the tragic (death and mayhem as Japanese troops set Singapore on fire in 1942). Father cynically manipulates markets; daughter carries on with unsuitable men; approved suitor arrives from Europe to reveal himself as an idealist who spouts praise for the League of Nations. You’ll learn a thing or two about how colonial companies of the time built enormous wealth by squeezing it from impoverished plantation workers, and how the war turned everything upside down.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
NOW A MAJOR ITV DRAMA, THE SINGAPORE GRIP IS A MODERN CLASSIC FROM THE BOOKER-PRIZE WINNING J.G. FARRELL
'Brilliant, richly absurd, melancholy' Observer
'Enjoyable on many different levels' Sunday Times
'One of the most outstanding novelists of his generation' Spectator
Singapore, 1939: Walter Blackett, ruthless rubber merchant, is head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. And his family's prosperous world of tennis parties, cocktails and deferential servants seems unchanging. No one suspects it - but this world is poised on the edge of the abyss. This is the eve of the Fall of Singapore.
A love story and…