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The Singapore Grip (1978)

par J. G. Farrell

Séries: Empire Trilogy (3)

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7441622,989 (3.93)1 / 229
Singapore, 1939: life on the eve of World War II just isn't what it used to be for Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. No matter how forcefully the police break one strike, the natives go on strike somewhere else. His daughter keeps entangling herself with the most unsuitable beaus, while her intended match, the son of Blackett's partner, is an idealistic sympathizer with the League of Nations and a vegetarian. Business may be booming--what with the war in Europe, the Allies are desperate for rubber and helpless to resist Blackett's price-fixing and market manipulation--but something is wrong. No one suspects that the world of the British Empire, of fixed boundaries between classes and nations, is about to come to a terrible end. A love story and a war story, a tragicomic tale of a city under siege and a dying way of life, "The Singapore Grip" completes the "Empire Trilogy" that began with "Troubles" and the Booker prize-winning "Siege of Krishnapur."… (plus d'informations)
  1. 00
    Le Siège de Krishnapur par J. G. Farrell (anzlitlovers)
    anzlitlovers: The Siege of Krishnapur won the Booker Prize in 1973
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Singapore, 1939: life on the eve of World War II just isn't what it used to be for Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. No matter how forcefully the police break one strike, the natives go on strike somewhere else. His daughter keeps entangling herself with the most unsuitable beaus, while her intended match, the son of Blackett's partner, is an idealistic sympathizer with the League of Nations and a vegetarian. Business may be booming—what with the war in Europe, the Allies are desperate for rubber and helpless to resist Blackett's price-fixing and market manipulation—but something is wrong. No one suspects that the world of the British Empire, of fixed boundaries between classes and nations, is about to come to a terrible end.



A love story and a war story, a tragicomic tale of a city under siege and a dying way of life, The Singapore Grip completes the “Empire Trilogy” that began with Troubles and the Booker prize-winning Siege of Krishnapur.
  Alhickey1 | Sep 19, 2020 |
I liked J.G. Farrell's novel "The Singapore Grip" for the most part. My interest really was in the family dynamics of the Blacketts and Matthew Webb, rather than the World War II events that were going on around them. As a result, some of the more historical parts kind of dragged on for me.

The novel focuses on Blackett and Webb, an English rubber company that has lived within Singapore for years. It is on the cusp of changes as one of the aging partners dies and the Japanese invasion of Singapore is just around the corner. Old Walter Blackett, the family's patriarch focuses on finding any means of at his disposal to keep his company rolling.

The personal interactions between all of the characters made this enjoyable for me. ( )
  amerynth | Jan 4, 2020 |
I liked this very much, though not as much as the second book in the trilogy, "The Siege of Krishnapur". Farrell tells the story of Singapore before Japan conquers it in World War II. He sets the scene, the atmosphere, amazingly well, and I learned a lot about pre-war Singapore. The characters are more than a little over the top, but some are piercingly observed and the humor is omnipresent (and very knowing, and very British). ( )
1 voter breic | Sep 19, 2018 |
There is much to recommend this book but ultimately it is just too long. The last 100 pages or so drag terribly. The characters all stay exactly the same despite extraordinary circumstances which makes the book particularly lacking in suspense. Strange for a wartime novel. ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
This is in some ways a book of two halves - it starts with the pre-war Singapore life, full of cocktails, business decisions and unsuitable love affairs. The second half is the chaos of war as all this collapses and Singapore eventually falls. It's a long leisurely book with lots of dark humour and slapstick comedy amongst the more serious historical reimagining. The later sections when they are literally firefighting are really vivid, but some of the military tactics sections were a bit over my head. ( )
1 voter AlisonSakai | Oct 9, 2015 |
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The city of Singapore was not built up gradually, the way most cities are, by a natural deposit of commerce on the banks of some river or at a traditional confluence of trade routes.
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Singapore, 1939: life on the eve of World War II just isn't what it used to be for Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore's oldest and most powerful firm. No matter how forcefully the police break one strike, the natives go on strike somewhere else. His daughter keeps entangling herself with the most unsuitable beaus, while her intended match, the son of Blackett's partner, is an idealistic sympathizer with the League of Nations and a vegetarian. Business may be booming--what with the war in Europe, the Allies are desperate for rubber and helpless to resist Blackett's price-fixing and market manipulation--but something is wrong. No one suspects that the world of the British Empire, of fixed boundaries between classes and nations, is about to come to a terrible end. A love story and a war story, a tragicomic tale of a city under siege and a dying way of life, "The Singapore Grip" completes the "Empire Trilogy" that began with "Troubles" and the Booker prize-winning "Siege of Krishnapur."

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