In January 1836, two sisters, Eleanor and Harriet, set sail for India, leaving their home in England to accompany their brother, Henry, on his posting as Governor-General. Told through the engaging voice of Eleanor, One Last Look takes the reader to the heart of nineteenth-century India. Surrounded by a constant entourage of servants and aides, overwhelmed by the suffocating heat and her own physical vulnerability, Elenanor begins to realize that nothing is as it seems. Will her brother's politicall ambitions lead them inexorably to disaster? Is her sister's sanity under threat? As fragile boundaries begin to dissolve, and desire and horror overcome her, it is clear that Eleanor's vision of this land and herself will be irrevocably transformed.
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Calcutta in 1836: an uneasy mix of two worlds?the patient, implacably unchangeable India and the tableau vivant of English life created of imperialism?s desperation. This is where Lady Eleanor, her sister Harriet, and her brother, Henry?the newly appointed Governor-General of the colony?arrive after a harrowing sea journey ?from Heaven, across the world, to Hell.? But none of them will find India hellish in anticipated ways, and some?including Harriet and, against her better judgment, Eleanor?will find an irresistible and endlessly confounding heaven.
In Lady Eleanor?whose story is based on actual diaries?we have a keenly intelligent and observant narrator. Her descriptions of her profoundly unfamiliar world are vivid and sensual. The stultifying heat, the sensuous relief of the monsoon rains, the aromas and colors of the gardens and marketplaces, the mystifying grace and silence of the Indians themselves all come to rich life on the page. When she, Harriet, Henry, and ten thousand soldiers and servants make a three-year trek to the Punjab from Calcutta under Henry?s failing leadership, Eleanor?s impressions of the people and landscape are deepened, charged by her own revulsion and exaltation: ?My life,? she says, ?once a fastidious nibble, has turned into an endless disorderly feast.?
Harriet, whose passivity conceals a dazed openness to the true India, and Henry, with his frightened adherence to the crumbling ideals of empire, become foils to Eleanor?s slow but inexorable seduction.
Historically precise, gorgeously evocative, banked with the heat of unbidden desires, One Last Look is a mesmerizing tale of the complex lure of the exotic and the brazen failure of imperialism?both political and personal. It is a powerful confirmation of Susanna Moore?s remarkable gifts.
Susanna Moore is the author of four previous novels including In the Cut which was recently made into a film by Jane Campion. Susanna is from Hawaii and now lives in New York City.
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Book Description Penguin, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 304 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0141013923
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 2005-02-24, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 0141013923 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-0141013923