Troubles by J.G. Farrell
(New York Review Books Classics)

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Synopsis

Winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize

1919: After surviving the Great War, Major Brendan Archer makes his way to Ireland, hoping to discover whether he is indeed betrothed to Angela Spencer, whose Anglo-Irish family owns the once-aptly-named Majestic Hotel in Kilnalough. But his fiancée is strangely altered and her family's fortunes have suffered a spectacular decline. The hotel's hundreds of rooms are disintegrating on a grand scale; its few remaining guests thrive on rumors and games of whist; herds of cats have taken over the Imperial Bar and the upper stories; bamboo shoots threaten the foundations; and piglets frolic in the squash court. Meanwhile, the Major is captivated by the beautiful and bitter Sarah Devlin. As housekeeping disasters force him from room to room, outside the order of the British Empire also totters: there is unrest in the East, and in Ireland itself the mounting violence of "the troubles."


Troubles is a hilarious and heartbreaking work by a modern master of the historical novel.
 

About J.G. Farrell

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J.G.Farrell (1935-1979) was born with a caul, long considered a sign of good fortune. Academically and athletically gifted, Farrell grew up in England and Ireland. In 1956, during his first term at Oxford, he suffered what seemed a minor injury on the rugby pitch. Within days, however, he was diagnosed with polio, which nearly killed him and left him permanently weakened. Farrell's early novels, which include The Lung and A Girl in the Head, have been overshadowed by his Empire Trilogy-Troubles, the Booker Prize-winning Siege of Krishnapur, and The Singapore Grip (all three are published by NYRB Classics). In early 1979, Farrell bought a farmhouse in Bantry Bay on the Irish coast. "I've been trying to write," he admitted, "but there are so many competing interests-the prime one at the moment is fishing off the rocks… . Then a colony of bees has come to live above my back door and I'm thinking of turning them into my feudal retainers." On August 11, Farrell was hit by a wave while fishing and was washed out to sea. His body was found a month later. A biography of J.G. Farrell, J.G. Farrell: The Making of a Writer by Lavinia Greacen, was published by Bloomsbury in 1999. Pankaj Mishra was born in North India in 1969 and now lives in London and India. He is the author of The Romantics, winner of the Los Angeles Times's Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and The Guardian. His most recent book is Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond.
 
Published July 1, 2010 by NYRB Classics. 480 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Troubles

The Guardian

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Farrell (Author), Sean Barrett (Reader) Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop It's 1919 and Major Archer has returned from war to the fiancée he barely knows, and finds himself in he...

Jun 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Troubles (New York Review Boo...

The New York Review of Books

God Save Ireland!” He calls his enemies “slave-hearts” and his head is ringing with grand jingles: Purchase a trial Online Edition subscription and receive unlimited access for one week to all the content on nybooks.com.

| Read Full Review of Troubles (New York Review Boo...

The New York Review of Books

Forty years after it was first published, Troubles, by J G Farrell, was announced, on May 19, 2010, as the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize — a one-off prize to honour the books published in 1970, but not considered for the prize when its rules were changed.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Troubles (New York Review Boo...

The New York Review of Books

Then a colony of bees has come to live above my back door and I’m thinking of turning them into my feudal retainers.” On August 11, Farrell was hit by a wave while fishing and was washed out to sea.

Oct 31 2002 | Read Full Review of Troubles (New York Review Boo...

Project MUSE

in the third year, the rules were changed so that the year's winner would be a book published in that same year, and the announcement was moved from April to November.

| Read Full Review of Troubles (New York Review Boo...

The Paris Review

But Gaitskill is so dead-on in her examination of the emotional life of her two central characters that I can’t help losing myself in the pages until finding a line—one girl holds “her aloneness around her like a magic cloak”—that when I look up, I discover I’ve missed my subway stop.

Dec 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Troubles (New York Review Boo...

Reader Rating for Troubles
71%

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