J.G. Farrell

J.G.Farrell (1935–1979) was born with a caul, long considered a sign of good fortune. Academically and athletically gifted, Farrell grew up in England and Ireland. In 1956, during his first term at Oxford, he suffered what seemed a minor injury on the rugby pitch. Within days, however, he was diagnosed with polio, which nearly killed him and left him permanently weakened. Farrell’s early novels, which include The Lung and A Girl in the Head, have been overshadowed by his Empire Trilogy—Troubles, the Booker Prize–winning Siege of Krishnapur, and The Singapore Grip (all three are published by NYRB Classics). In early 1979, Farrell bought a farmhouse in Bantry Bay on the Irish coast. “I’ve been trying to write,” he admitted, “but there are so many competing interests–the prime one at the moment is fishing off the rocks… . Then a colony of bees has come to live above my back door and I’m thinking of turning them into my feudal retainers.” On August 11, Farrell was hit by a wave while fishing and was washed out to sea. His body was found a month later. A biography of J.G. Farrell, J.G. Farrell: The Making of a Writer by Lavinia Greacen, was published by Bloomsbury in 1999.

  • J. G. Farrell Empire Trilogy Collection

    Farrell’s three novels, including two Booker Prize winners, offer an unequaled picture of the follies of empire.

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    The Singapore Grip

    A sweeping historical novel as well as a stinging satire of corporate power, imperial greed, and military arrogance.

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    The Siege of Krishnapur

    The Siege of Krishnapur— thought by many to be Farrell’s finest novel—chronicles the year of the Great Mutiny in India, when the sepoys turned in bloody rebellion against their complacent British overlords.

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    Troubles is a hilarious and heartbreaking work by a modern master of the historical novel.