Household Gods

Jon Thurley, Author, Pat Golbitz, Editor, Jill Hamilton, Editor William Morrow & Company $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-07939-0
A successful London barrister approaching middle age, Mark Hodder has become obsessed with finding the truth behind his father's disappearance in Pakistan in 1947. Mark returns to the land of his childhood memories, and although the elements of the mystery start to fall into place, there are some initially confusing, expository flashbacks as the author sets up the protagonists of the fascinating drama that will ensue. Roger, from a poor Yorkshire family, has struggled to enter the Indian Civil Service on merit alone. Anthony (who will become Mark's father) is more fortunate. They meet at the ICS training college and become friends. But the class differences between them, the different ambitions that spur them and the woman they both love divide the young men while, at the same time, tie them throughout their lives in an unpredictable, fatal and violent conflict that is as irrational as the tragic events on the larger canvas of India at the end of the Raj. For a novel set in that period, Household Gods is refreshingly without cliche. The European colonial servants and their families, and the Muslim and Hindu gentry, merchants, servants and officials are all fleshed out as individuals, not types. This novel by the author of The Burning Lake is a complex, satisfying narrative that repays the effort to make sense of its first few chapters. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
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