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Bhowani Junction (The Savage Family Chronicles #7)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  254 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Magnificent novel of Empire and its aftermath

First published in 1954 in the wake of the partition of India, John Masters' great novel Bhowani Junction has increased in stature over the years. Standing between E.M. Forster's A Passage to India and the widely acclaimed works of such writers as Paul Scott and Salman Rushdie, Bhowani Junction is both a richly intriguing novel
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Unknown Binding, 414 pages
Published May 24th 2001 by Not Avail (first published January 28th 1954)
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Marcus Clark
Mar 06, 2013 Marcus Clark rated it really liked it
BHOWANI JUNCTION, John Masters

There are some 3 million books available to read. More and more are coming out each day. Publishers focus is on their current crop of books; the old ones are left to die in the wilderness. Not because the old books are inferior, many are better — but because publishers can only promote a limited number of books.

These old books, I call “lost gems”. There are many wonderful, interesting, absorbing novels that have slipped off the radar. One of them is BHOWANI JUNCT
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Corto
Jul 13, 2016 Corto rated it really liked it
Another well-crafted novel from John Masters about the end of the British Raj, and one woman who is torn between three identities: Anglo-Indian, Indian, or "English".

The story is told from the perspectives of three different narrators Victoria Jones (Anglo-Indian Army officer, on terminal leave), Patrick Taylor (Anglo-Indian Railway Traffic Officer) and Col. Rodney Savage (13th Gurkha Rifles). While the story is primarily about Jones' battle to define herself, the parallel plot concerns interna
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Bettie☯
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam
May 15, 2012 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
[I read this book about 18 months ago, so I have forgotten many details, but I retain a good overall impression of it.]

This novel is written by a man who knew India well, and this shows in his writing.

The Anglo-Indians, that is to say Indians who have some 'white blood' in their ancestry, were looked down on by the Europeans and other Indians alike. This is well described in the book.

Many Anglo-Indians had jobs in the Indian railway system. Bhowani Junction is a railway junction somewhere in Ind
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Michael
Jul 07, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it
Set in India in 1946, the story revolves around the dilemma that was facing the Anglo-India people (descendants of mixed race) as the British indicated their willingness to grant independence to India. The four main characters each tell their story in separate sections, not as flashbacks but in a serial progression so the story advances steadily as it explores the problems that Indian, Anglo-Indian and British experienced during extreme political and religious sectarianism that was ravaging Indi ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Oct 06, 2016 Gerald Sinstadt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-general
Bhowani Junction, set in India at the ti,me of Independence, confronts many difficult issues with intelligence, honesty and a gift for story-telling that complements understanding.

The author, like one of his major characters, was a colonel in the Indian army. How much of himself can be read into Colonel Rodney Savage, in charge of a regiment of Gurkhas, is impossible to say, but this is a balanced portrait man aware of his own strengths and weaknesses.

The daily life of a railway station is drawn
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Judy
Jan 29, 2014 Judy rated it liked it
As the Brits are departing from India post-WWII, the Anglo-Indians are left in a state of great uncertainty. Do they follow their overlords to "Home," which they have never seen, and be subject to flagrant discrimination, or do they stay in India, subject to the Indians that they have always scorned? The main character, Victoria, explores her options as she spurns her hapless Anglo-Indian suitor, betroths herself to (and then abandons) an Indian national, beds down with a British officer, before ...more
Tom
Oct 15, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it
This was a very engaging tale set during post war India at the eve of Indian independence from British rule. The focal point is the railroad terminal and town , Bhowani Junction. The plot revolves around the various characters ; English,Indian,and Anglo Indian coming to terms with their place in what will be the new India. The action is fueled by their interconnectedness to seeing to the safe running of this terminus which is threatened by violent elements of the Indian independence movement. Th ...more
Caroline
Feb 23, 2014 Caroline rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-reads
This book didn't age as well as I'd hoped. I'd read it years and years ago as a young girl, but now I am older I found it full of sexism and prejudice. I am sure that it is of its time but it jarred with me.
Laura
Apr 21, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Misfit
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
John Masters' continuing saga of the Savage family serving in the British army in India.

Ashok
Jun 19, 2013 Ashok rated it really liked it
Read this book quite a while back. The partition wounds were fresh then. And the stories of mayhem unleashed by partition that our parents generation was never tired to tell coaxed me into reading this book to know something about the colonial rule during its turbulent last phase.
(On a different note):
As a younger person then, one thought that since time is a great healer, the two countries, which were the creation of british cunningness would make it up in due course, but alas! the divide has
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Jon
Nov 07, 2008 Jon rated it it was ok
So far a conventional book, but with interesting info on the historical moment of Indian independence from Britain. Not much else to say upon finishing the book. Interesting insights into racial thinking across the spectrum of a diverse society (India). Characters run the gamut from Hindu to Moslem to Christian in religious beliefs and European, Asian and mixed race as far as races portrayed. Despite these qualities the story is pretty mundane.

Hard to believe the immaturity of the two lead chara
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Gill
May 28, 2016 Gill rated it really liked it
Quite different from what I usually read, but I'm pleased that I did, because I found the context of the book extremely interesting and well explored.

Partway through reading this book, an AngloIndian friend of mine, whose parents were living in India at the time the book is set, told me that her mother had often told her that life in India at that time was nothing like this book suggests.

Which is quite intriguing, since the book reads as reasonably accurate.

I've just checked, and the film of the
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Geoffrey Gudgion
Aug 23, 2014 Geoffrey Gudgion rated it really liked it
An excellent evocation of India in the closing stages of the Raj, riddled with racism, class, and prejudice. At its heart is an Anglo-Indian woman's search for identity as the structures of her society begin to collapse into political turmoil and violence. Her introspection can make the first half slightly heavy going, like Dostoyevsky in a dhoti, but the pace accelerates. All three principle characters are very well drawn and contrasted.
Penelope
May 27, 2016 Penelope rated it liked it
It's the second time I've read this, the last time being when I was about 15. I was disappointed then and was this time too. I couldn't visualise the female protagonist and felt she settled for a poor compromise. It was gripping, however,and I'm reading The Ravi Lancers now. I did gain a better insight into Anglo-Indian life, which was my purpose, as part of my genealogical research.
Pam
May 04, 2010 Pam rated it it was amazing
Written about the time before partition but still following members of the Savage family - really worth a read because of the insight he gives into the Anglo-Indian mind at the time the British were preparing to leave India. As usual, I wallow in Masters' books and am sorry they end.
Vijayan Balakrishnan
Sep 17, 2012 Vijayan Balakrishnan rated it really liked it
Bhowani Junction is one of the best books written by John Masters in the Indian settings. This book is also nostalgic about the British Raj of India. A must read for those interested in the period the British were withdrawing from India.
Alan
Dec 16, 2008 Alan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, india
The movie seems awkward now. Book infused with India under British rule.
Prem Rao
Jan 14, 2013 Prem Rao rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books. John Masters was one of the authors who influenced me as a writer.
Kate Millin
Aug 11, 2014 Kate Millin rated it liked it
India in pre-independence days, through the eyes of 2 Anglo-Indians linked to the railways and an English army colonel
Galen
Jan 16, 2016 Galen rated it it was amazing
Book is better than the movie.
Stenberg
Stenberg rated it it was amazing
Jun 17, 2012
Cynthia Nichols
Cynthia Nichols rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2016
Lucy
Lucy rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2013
Jenny Downing
Jenny Downing rated it liked it
Jun 15, 2016
Steve Pimentil
Steve Pimentil rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2014
Ann Bennett
Ann Bennett rated it really liked it
Nov 29, 2015
Stephen Lynch
Stephen Lynch rated it liked it
Apr 08, 2016
Monika Jain
Monika Jain rated it liked it
Aug 17, 2013
John Bee
John Bee rated it liked it
Aug 31, 2012
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Masters was the son of a lieutenant-colonel whose family had a long tradition of service in the Indian Army. He was educated at Wellington and Sandhurst. On graduating from Sandhurst in 1933, he was seconded to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI) for a year before applying to serve with the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles. He saw service on the North-West Frontier with the 2nd bat ...more
More about John Masters...

Other Books in the Series

The Savage Family Chronicles (8 books)
  • Coromandel!
  • The Deceivers
  • Nightrunners of Bengal (The Story-Tellers)
  • The Lotus and the Wind
  • Far, Far the Mountain Peak
  • The Ravi Lancers, a Novel
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