The Coffer Dams by Kamala Markandaya #KamalaMarkandaya #TheCofferDams @hoperoadpublish @RandomTTour #BlogTour

The Coffer Dams was published by Hope Road on 30th September 2020, having originally been published over 50 years ago. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on the the blog tour.  

Clinton, founder and head of a firm of international engineers, arrives in India to build a dam, bringing with him his young wife, Helen, and a strong team of aides and skilled men. They are faced with a formidable challenge, which involves working in daunting mountain and jungle terrain, within a time schedule dictated by the extreme tropical weather. Setbacks occur which bring into focus fundamental differences in the attitudes to life and death of the British bosses and the Indian workers. A timely reminder of the British contempt for Indian lives and for nature. 
My Thoughts: 

When being invited to take part in the blog tour I choose to read this book on the summary alone as embarassingly I have never heard of Kamala Markandaya before. The Coffer Dams was indeed first published more than 50 years ago. Despite this it still reads like it is current, a timeless and classic piece of writing and it deserves to be read more so I am thrilled that it has been republished. 

The Coffer Dams is set in Southern India after partition and tensions are understandably still running high. When Clinton and his colleagues are to build a dam the differences between East and West come to the fore. Hellbent on modernisation and what they want to do. There seemed to be little respect for the Indian workers and their safety and thoughts. There is also the battle with the environs ongoing but it seemed that nothing would stop the dam being built. The British seemed to view and value themselves more highly than the Indians.
I enjoyed the character of Helen and her ability and desire to learn from the people and thrive in the environment she is in. She seemed to be at a complete juxtaposition to Clinton, who I did not really like at all. 
This book was expertly written, there is no shying away for events and there is racism and bigotry here and something for the reader to take away and learn from. For me it made for uncomfortable reading at times. The writing though was elegant and the characters perfectly written. 

This was thought provoking and memorable. I really recommend it.

About the Author:
Kamala Markandaya (1924 – 2004) was born in Mysore, India. She studied history at Madras University and later worked for a small progressive magazine before moving to London in 1948 in pursuit of a career in journalism. There she began writing her novels; Nectar in a Sieve, her first novel published in 1954, was an international bestseller. Reviewing the republication of The Nowhere Man in 2019, Booker prize-winner Bernadine Evaristo wrote; ‘For the last 20 years of her life, Kamala Markandaya couldn’t get published and went out of print. Generations of readers lost out in reading this gem. Now I hope it will find its place in literary history.’

Please do have a look at the other stops on the the blog tour


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