A friend recommended The Glass Palace when we were out to dinner this past summer, and we were talking about what books should be on the reading list for our travels. And when I put out the plea for book recommendations, she reminded me of this book, and I am glad she did. It is a great read.
The historical fiction novel covers a large geography including Thailand, Burma, India, Malaysia and Singapore. The novel weaves in some interesting historical pieces of information:
- Burma’s royal family and how they were exiled to India by the British
- The impact British rule had on Burma versus India
- How WW II shifted power in Asia and the fall of the British Empire
What I enjoyed more about the book were the characters and relationships that developed and evolved, at times in depressing and surprising ways. Yet, despite hardships and different priorities, some friendships lasted a lifetime.
The one downside is that the novel tries to cover so much ground- about 150 years worth of history starting around 1885-and it felt like some subplots were skimmed over. Nonetheless, a great read for those interested in historical fiction about these countries or just a great story about a individuals and their families struggling to live and survive at a difficult time in history, especially for Burma and India.