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The Ivory Swing

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  111 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
A professor's wife, Juliet, already feeling too far from the excitements of city life in her small Canadian college-town, obligingly journeys with husband David (and their two children) even further: to Kerala in southern India, for David's research sabbatical year.
Paperback, 252 pages
Published May 23rd 1983 by Dutton Books (first published 1982)
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Mar 30, 2011 Stacy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stacy by: A friend of my sister-in-law, it just took me a long time to act on it.
This author is really good at invoking the feel, smell and texture of India. She is also very good at showing us how nothing is black and white in this world and particularly in a country like India where the past, present and future mingle in beauty and confusion and horror. In its political context, it reminded me of Rohinton Mistry's 'A fine balance'; the people of India seem so much more in tune with their leaders and so much more at risk by committing to a cause. The Canadians in this story ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Christine marked it as to-read
The Ivory Swing
By Hospital, Janette Turner

The first novel by Australian-Canadian writer Hospital has aged well. Hospital's tale follows a Canadian family's stay in south India.

Publisher Comments

The Ivory Swing has been reprinted as a stylish new volume in University of Queensland Press's Classic series. This novel is a winner of a prestigious literary award in Canada for a first novel. The story is alive with wit and tragedy, ripe with sensuousness as it deals with the migration of a woman from
Dec 28, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
A deft explanation of how the lack of cultural awareness can cause unimaginable chaos. Although the central character, Juliet, means well, her outlook is the product of her western upbringing and her inability to see past her own world view. The outcome, of course, is inevitable and tragic. I wondered at the end if she had really absorbed that lesson or would continue to rail against the reality of other cultures.

Janet Turner Hospital is a wonderful writer and her descriptions of the oppressive
Jul 21, 2012 Pearl rated it really liked it
Read this book about 30 years ago on a recommendation of a complete stranger. Reading The Newlyweds reminded me of books I've read that deals with adapting to a foreign culture and "The Ivory Swing" popped into my mind. It seems since then Ms. Hosptial, a canadian, has written many books. However, I cann't remember ever seeing any of them reviewed. Has anyone read some of her later works?
Donna Jarrell
Aug 31, 2010 Donna Jarrell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was kind of a fun read for me. On impulse I decided I wanted to read a novel--between class reading. I picked this one up from my book shelf. Bought when I met the author at a conference 13 years ago but had never read it. It's a decent story, set in India and does a good job capturing the complexities of that culture and the ambivalence surrounding the commitment required by marriage.
Jun 20, 2011 Tricia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Rushdi, I found this book much more enjoyable. There was a great deal of evidence of social custom and political/historical issues were explained, although not in great detail at least so that you understood what was going on.
Troy Alexander
Jan 28, 2017 Troy Alexander rated it really liked it
Taut, vivid, interesting and well-written.
Apr 30, 2013 Genevieve rated it really liked it
I can't believe this book hasn't been made into a movie yet (or has it?)
No longer available in print, but the audio book is wonderfully narrated which well have made it even more enjoyable for me.
Sep 10, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
I read this about 20 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very realistic and evocative descriptions of Indian village life from an ex-Pat's perspective. Great read
Lesley Moseley
wonderful evocative people and places
Aug 10, 2011 Fifi rated it really liked it
Much darker than I had expected this is really beautifully written, and terribly sad - the suffering is great, and the imagery is beautiful. You can taste the indian atmosphere.
Rosalind Reisner
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Feb 23, 2011
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Born in 1942, Janette Turner Hospital grew up on the steamy sub-tropical coast of Australia in the north-eastern state of Queensland. She began her teaching career in remote Queensland high schools, but since her graduate studies she has taught in universities in Australia, Canada, England, France and the United States.

Her first published short story appeared in the Atlantic Monthly (USA) where i
More about Janette Turner Hospital...

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