His second duty is to fillet the news in the Times each day and report a sanitised version to the family. As little as possible of the modern world must intrude... But it is 1956. India has been lost for a decade; the rest of the Empire is just about holding together. Britain is about to face the great misadventure of Suez.
The locals call it 'The India House'. But they have little to do with the three women who live there: grandmother, mother and daughter. Upstairs, old Mrs Covington dreams of India and the days of the Raj. Her widowed daughter Evelyn watches obsessively over eighteen-year-old Julia. She has decided that the girl is to be kept in a state of 'innocence'. The tutor, Mr Henry, is allowed to teach only a bizarre mixture of mythology, history, the Romantic Poets, arithmetic, French, and the perils of socialism. His second duty is to fillet the news in the Times each day and report a sanitised version to the family. As little as possible of the modern world must intrude...But it is 1956. India has been lost for a decade; the rest of the Empire is just about holding together. Britain is about to face the great misadventure of Suez. Mrs Covington may try to avoid the modern world, but she cannot prevent the arrival of two men, her son Roland, and her eighteen-year-old grandson, James. The fragile paradise the women have constructed is about to be changed forever. In this blackly comic novel the past is richly evoked, but its message of colonial ambition and disaster and of love and corruption are both moving and timely.
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William Palmer has had five books published, and many stories, reviews and poems in newspapers and journals such as London Magazine, Literary Review, the Independent, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Daily Telegraph. His previous novels are The Good Republic (Secker & Warburg, 1990), Leporello (Secker & Warburg, 1992), The Contract (Jonathan Cape, 1995) and The Pardon of Saint Anne (Jonathan Cape, 1997). Anvil Press published a selection of his poems in 1990, and a collection of short stories, Four Last Things was published by Secker & Warburg in 1996. In 1997 he was awarded the Society of Authors' prestigious Travelling Scholarship. For three years, from 2000-2003, he was Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of Birmingham. In the autumn he is taking up a part-time Fellowship at the University of Warwick. William Palmer lives in South West London.
The India House by William Palmer
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