26 Apr 2012


(Now a major movie starring, amongst others, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Celia Imrie - click HERE for trailer)

Enticed by advertisements for a newly restored palatial hotel and filled with visions of a life of leisure, good weather and mango juice in their gin, a group of very different pensioners leave England to begin a new life in India. On arrival they are dismayed to find the palace is a shell of its former self, the staff more than a little eccentric, and the days of the Raj long gone. But, as they soon discover, life and love can begin again, even in the most unexpected circumstances.
......... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Muriel Donnelly, an old girl in her seventies, was left in a hospital cubicle for forty-eight hours.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 13): ...... Last week he set fire to the kitchen. He was boiling up his revolting old hankies in my Le Creuset saucepan, nearly burned the house down.

MY THOUGHTS: Still not too sure what to make of this. 

Wonderfully vivid, it had me laughing in places, and feeling depressed in others but mostly it left me feeling strangely unsettled.

A story about a motley crew of English senior citizens who, for a variety of different reasons, decide to move to India to spend their twilight years in what turns out to be a somewhat dilapidated 'retirement hotel'.

Very depressing in places - the author pulls no punches in painting a bleak picture of what life is like for many of the UK's ageing population and India, though for different reasons, fares little better.

Still, it's not all gloom and doom. 

Peopled by a wonderful array of characters who range from the merely eccentric to the totally 'batty', the antics of these pensioners had me quietly chuckling to myself - the antics of the impotent Norman, though ultimately sad, being nothing short of hilarious.

Perhaps a little too realistic in places. I know that realism perhaps dictates that people of these characters generation were not quite as sensitive to those of other races and though it was done in an almost tongue in cheek kind of way and some would argue it was necessary I couldn't help but find the almost casual racism of some of the characters a bit disconcerting.

 Be warned The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was previously released as These Foolish Things.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: A newspaper freebie, I payed only for the packaging and postage, I shan't be keeping this.


Vivienne said...

The film is meant to be brilliant. My sister in law went to see it and loved it.

Nikki-ann said...

I didn't realise this was a book as well. I don't know about the book, but I quite fancy seeing the film.

GMR said...

Oh yay! You reviewed it! I've been curious about this one since I saw the preview to the forthcoming movie. How curious....didn't realize it was previously published (same thing happened with another one a while back though the title is escaping me at the moment). Sounds interesting enough though I understand your point on the racism. Irks me as well in some reads but it goes with the territory sometimes (sad to say). Thanks for the review!

Suko said...

Petty, it seems you are still collecting your thoughts about this one. As for me, I'm not sure if I'll read this one, or perhaps see the movie. Sharp, honest review, as usual.

Kelly said...

The premise sounds good, but from reading your review I can imagine that there would be parts which might be depressing. I might just watch for the movie instead.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I might have to watch this one because of Judi Dench and Maggie Smith! Might make a better picture than book. Yep, sometimes that happens. :)

joan said...

hi thanks for this review, i,ve got this on my kindle, will probably read it while on holiday, yes i wanted to see the film also hopefully it will be on sky in the near future

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Sounds like it was well written for a variety of feelings. :) And a good read. Thank you

Nezzy said...

I'll probably just check out the movie on this one.

I can always count on a great review over here sweetie!

Have yourself a perfectly blessed day!!! :O)

Deepali said...

Probably a better picture than book (with that star cast...) but how India is portrayed in movies and books is usually heavily skewed towards existing perceptions of poor people living in slums and run down houses.

Dee from www.readseverything.blogspot.com

Dizzy C said...

I would like to see the film.

Tracy I do love the new header with the Velveteen Rabbit. How lovely.

carol x

Betty Manousos said...

in my opinion, probably a better movie than book.
i would like to see the film. gret review!


naida said...

I've never heard of this one. I do know what you mean, sometimes if it's realistically depressing a story will leave me feeling unsettled.