James Gordon Farrell (1935–79) is often described as one of post-war Britain’s forgotten novelists.1 Written in the varied and changeable literary climate of the 1970s, Farrell’s work has too often been eclipsed by the fashions of the age, lost amidst the showiness of his postmodern contemporaries or in the magical realism that followed him. Further, Farrell’s arguably finest work was in that distinctly unfashionable of genres, the historical novel. However, before the likes of Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie took center stage, in the first decade of the Booker Prize six winning entries were historical novels. One of these, Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur (1973), was part of a loosely structured series including Troubles (1970) and The Singapore Grip (1978) which became known as his `Empire’ trilogy.2 In the Empire trilogy Farrell seeks to explore the degraded circumstances of the British nation state in the 1970s by drawing attention to three key historical moments in the construction of modern Britain.
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- ‘Skeletons of Solid Objects’: Imperial Violence in J.G. Farrell’s Empire Trilogy
- Palgrave Macmillan UK