Children of the Raj

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 July, 2006, 12:00am

Children of the Raj

by Vyvyen Brendon

Phoenix, $144

As in the days of the Raj, the children of Hong Kong-based expatriates tend to 'soldier on' through pride or reticence rather than ask for help coping with the experience of being 'sent home' to school. Sars was a wrenching experience for many when they couldn't return to the city for the summer holidays. Vyvyen Brendon hears echoes in these modern-day experiences of the past she writes about in Children of the Raj, her entertaining yet somewhat sad look at the British empire in India. Brendon's story starts in the 1760s with the East India Company and largely ends when the British left in 1947. She interviews families with Indian connections and has had access to hoards of primary material - letters and diaries, memoirs and journals, and fading photographs, some of which are included here. 'I think the tragedy of our early days,' wrote Rudyard Kipling's sister, Alice, 'sprang from our inability to understand why our parents deserted us.' Published in hardback last year, Children of the Raj generated more information and stories about the Raj, which Brendon has incorporated into a postscript for this paperback edition.



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