Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Roar Of The Tiger by Annie Ayre

The Roar Of The Tiger by Annie Ayre
First published in 1985 by Viking Penguin Inc as After The Ball Was Over by Rosemary Kingsland. Republished under the new title by Endeavour Press in 2015.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from /

How I got this book:
Learned of free Amazon download through Endeavour Press newsletter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'Northern India, 1930. In the fictional English township of Jamalpur is a railway station on the East Indian Railway Loopline. A marble statue of Queen Victoria stands in the town square; and in the hills above, there is a strange black boulder that remarkably resembles the Empress of All India. Jamalpur is the training ground for Railway personnel, both official lower class, and the worker, graded according to sports ability, colour, caste, and education, in that order. The real quality bosses were the covenanted, straight out from Blighty wallahs; worshipped, feared, and greatly envied. Every mother with daughters prays nightly for single men to arrive.'

Billed as a classic English farce but failing to live up to its initial promise, I didn't really know what to make of this Raj era novel. The story starts out well, introducing us to the odd characters and caricatures who populate Jamalpur and several narrative threads are set up which, when ultimately tied together, could have made for a very funny comedy of manners, class and other people's husbands. However, the author didn't seem to know when to stop bringing in more characters so eventually ended up with a confusing mass of ill-defined people. Even the final set-piece Apprentices' Ball I felt was short-changed. There isn't much historical detail although I thought Ayre captured the snobbery and divided society of Raj era India well. The Roar Of The Tiger is an ok read, but could use strong editing to bring out its full potential.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Annie Ayre / Historical fiction / Books from England

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