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Loot av Tania James
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Loot (utgåvan 2023)

av Tania James (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
19411141,775 (4.06)26
A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE SUMMER * A spellbinding historical novel set in the eighteenth century: a hero's quest, a love story, the story of a young artist coming of age, and an exuberant heist adventure that traces the bloody legacy of colonialism across two continents and fifty years. "Addictively absorbing." --The New York Times Book Review This wildly inventive, irresistible feat of storytelling from a writer at the height of her powers is "an expertly-plotted, deeply affecting novel about war, displacement, emigration, and an elusive mechanical tiger" (Maggie O'Farrell, best-selling author of Hamnet and The Marriage Portrait). Abbas is just seventeen years old when his gifts as a woodcarver come to the attention of Tipu Sultan, and he is drawn into service at the palace in order to build a giant tiger automaton for Tipu's sons, a gift to commemorate their return from British captivity. His fate--and the fate of the wooden tiger he helps create--will mirror the vicissitudes of nations and dynasties ravaged by war across India and Europe. Working alongside the legendary French clockmaker Lucien du Leze, Abbas hones his craft, learns French, and meets Jehanne, the daughter of a French expatriate.  When Du Leze is finally permitted to return home to Rouen, he invites Abbas to come along as his apprentice. But by the time Abbas travels to Europe, Tipu's palace has been looted by British forces, and the tiger automaton has disappeared. To prove himself, Abbas must retrieve the tiger from an estate in the English countryside, where it is displayed in a collection of plundered art.… (mer)
Medlem:quondame
Titel:Loot
Författare:Tania James (Författare)
Info:Knopf (2023), 305 pages
Samlingar:Lästa men inte ägda
Betyg:****
Taggar:2024

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Loot av Tania James

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» Se även 26 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 10 (nästa | visa alla)
I think this was a fairly mediocre but reasonably entertaining read, but honestly, I can't really judge the book itself because I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was so laughably bad that he ruined my perception of the book. He used the same tone of voice no matter what was happening in the book: the exact same tone and inflection for sad scenes, romantic scenes, and funny scenes. He sometimes mispronounced words in hilarious ways: when talking about "a sow and her piglets", he pronounced "sow" like "sew." Later in the book when we meet an aging aristocratic woman, the narrator gives her this high-pitched voice that is exactly like a Monty Python character in drag, which turned a character who I think was supposed to be sympathetic into a total laughingstock. I confess that I wasn't really enjoying the story, but kept listening out of a morbid fascination with how terrible the narrator was. ( )
  Gwendydd | Jun 1, 2024 |
A detailed personalized view of the impact of class and colonialism on an artisan, a young carver seconded to a local ruler, taught by an involuntarily expatriated Frenchman, who goes through war and the perils of serving on a ship to find a place where he can learn what he needs to be the craftsmen he aspires to be. ( )
  quondame | May 19, 2024 |
A wonderful epic story about unlikely friends centering on woodcarving artistry during the late 1700's and early 1800's. A French craftsman has a Muslim assistant as an aide and together they create a beautiful museum quality piece of a tiger for a middle eastern leader. Abbas becomes the focal point of the story as he hones his carving skills following his mentor (who dies) to France and England trying to maintain contact with their masterpiece. Abbas falls in love along the way. A great novel. ( )
  muddyboy | Apr 10, 2024 |
I spotted this book on the long-list for the 2023 U.S. National Book Awards, and it looked intriguing so I got it from the library.

It's a piece of historical fiction, and it's about historical events in India which I knew nothing about. Though there are admittedly some violent and distressing incidents in it, overall the story has a warm, engaging feel as the life-journey of the main character draws you in.

We start in the city of Srirangapatna, part of the Kingdom of Mysore in India, in the year 1794, when it was under the rule of Tipu Sultan Fath Ali Khan, who was at that time loosely allied to France.

The protagonist of the story is a young boy called Abbas, who works as a woodcarver for his father Yusuf Muhammad. As well as his rather boring everyday work, Abbas also loves to make little wooden toys, some of which come to the attention of the wife of Tipu Sultan, and he begins to make some of his toys specifically at her request. In this way he comes to the notice of Tipu Sultan himself.

Tipu Sultan orders Abbas to come to him, and Abbas is terrified, particularly after he discovers that Tipu's wife has betrayed him. But the king doesn't want to have Abbas killed, but rather to work as an assistant to a French inventor, Lucien Du Leze. Du Leze has been living in Mysore for some time, after fleeing his home in Rouen in France after the French Revolution and has found a patron in Tipu Sultan. The king wants Du Leze to build a life-size automaton of a tiger attacking a British soldier.

One doesn't say "no" to an absolute ruler like Tipu Sultan, particularly if you are so lowly a person as Abbas, and so he starts work with Du Leze to build the contraption, learning a great deal as he does, but always aware of how much there is left to learn.

In the background of all of this, however, is the war with the British—well, the British and the East India Company—which eventually leads to the siege of Srirangapatna. Tipu Sultan dies in the attack, and young Abbas only barely survives himself. Du Leze also escapes the violence and offers to take Abbas back home with him to Rouen and teach him the trade of clockmaking, but Abbas needs to tend to his dying father and reluctantly refuses. Abbas is very talented and ambitious, yearning to shake the world with his abilities. But his situation in life is such that this seems impossible without the aid of a teacher and mentor like Lucien Du Leze.

In the aftermath of the siege, the victorious British divide up the spoils. Among these is the mechanical tiger automaton, which is awarded as a prize to a Colonel Selwyn, who takes it back home to England as a gift to his wife.

Abbas stows away aboard a British merchant ship, on which he is forced to serve for several years before finally reaching Rouen, only to find that Lucien Du Leze has recently died, leaving his shop to his adopted daughter Jehanne, the mixed-race child of a friend of his in India. She is struggling to make ends meet, and Abbas doesn't have sufficient skills to continue the clockmaking business.

So between them they come up with an audacious plan to get back the mechanical tiger from Colonel Selwyn's widow. How this plan works out occupies the remainder of the book and introduces us to two more very interesting characters in Lady Selwyn and her man of business, "Rum", another ex-patriot Indian like Abbas.

The point of view in the book smoothly shifts as needed: from Abbas, to Thomas (a midshipman who serves with him aboard the merchantman), to Jehanne, to Lady Selwyn, to Rum. All of this makes a harmonious whole rather than a disjointed narrative.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was very educational—it's based solidly on true historical events—and also highly entertaining and at times very moving. There's a tender, slowly-developing love story; and it also has quite a lot of things to say about how non-white people like Abbas and Rum were treated by white society at the time (and of course even still today).

Highly recommended. ( )
  davidrgrigg | Mar 23, 2024 |
Loot is a beautifully written historical fiction novel set in the late 18th C. Beginning in India, Abbas, at 17, is summoned to the Tipu Sultan's palace to work for a master carpenter, Lucien Du Leze, carving an automaton of a tiger, the Sultan's symbol. Together, they create a masterpiece, with an organ inside the large tiger. Lucien wants to return to France, asks Abbas to come. Jehanna, daughter of Martine, is on journey, and was enthralled by Abbas' toy making.
Abbas stays to serve in Tipu's army, but English soldiers capture and destroy city. Abbas survives and takes a journey to France. He finds Jehanna, and they concoct a plan to get the automaton from Lady Selwyn in England. Once again, they journey, but their plan has problems.
Loosely based on historical events, the author weaves a vivid picture of the hardships of the times, the long journeys, and the consequences of war. There are also multiple love stories in the book, between lovers and parents and children. I was caught up in the story of Abbas and his quest to leave his mark on the world. ( )
  rmarcin | Mar 5, 2024 |
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On the day he is taken from his family, Abbas is carving a peacock into a cabinet door.
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A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE SUMMER * A spellbinding historical novel set in the eighteenth century: a hero's quest, a love story, the story of a young artist coming of age, and an exuberant heist adventure that traces the bloody legacy of colonialism across two continents and fifty years. "Addictively absorbing." --The New York Times Book Review This wildly inventive, irresistible feat of storytelling from a writer at the height of her powers is "an expertly-plotted, deeply affecting novel about war, displacement, emigration, and an elusive mechanical tiger" (Maggie O'Farrell, best-selling author of Hamnet and The Marriage Portrait). Abbas is just seventeen years old when his gifts as a woodcarver come to the attention of Tipu Sultan, and he is drawn into service at the palace in order to build a giant tiger automaton for Tipu's sons, a gift to commemorate their return from British captivity. His fate--and the fate of the wooden tiger he helps create--will mirror the vicissitudes of nations and dynasties ravaged by war across India and Europe. Working alongside the legendary French clockmaker Lucien du Leze, Abbas hones his craft, learns French, and meets Jehanne, the daughter of a French expatriate.  When Du Leze is finally permitted to return home to Rouen, he invites Abbas to come along as his apprentice. But by the time Abbas travels to Europe, Tipu's palace has been looted by British forces, and the tiger automaton has disappeared. To prove himself, Abbas must retrieve the tiger from an estate in the English countryside, where it is displayed in a collection of plundered art.

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