3.5 out of 5 stars
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
In the early 1900s E M Forster twice visited India where he served in the post of private secretary of the Rajah of Dewas. Even though he lost his father when he was two years old, he had grown up in a life of privilege in the UK and had an inheritance to ensure that he could live of independent means.
Arriving in this country was somewhat of a culture shock to him and this book is a collection of letters that he wrote describing what he saw all around him. They reveal details of the ancient court system that treated the Maharajah as a saint. He doesn’t quite go fully native, but he partakes in the rituals and court life and was in a uniquely privileged position.
I thought that this was a fascinating insight into life in the last days of the Raj in India. Forster gives a glimpse of what life was like for those at the top end of Indian society and the way they had been moulded under English rule. He never judges what he sees, rather he is amused and bemused with what he witnesses considering sometimes to be stranger than fiction.