The Last Candles of the Night
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After a lifetime in India, Philip returns to Australia in 2001, seeking to re-establish links with his estranged wife Jenny, whom he had married in India fifty years earlier. Displaced and disappointed in his hopes of resuming a career in his own country, Philip is visited by a ghost: Ragini, the young revolutionary he fell in love with in 1948. And difficult memories are revived.
In 1948 India has achieved its independence, but the princely state of Hyderabadâ€”the Nizamâ€™s Dominionsâ€”with its feudal splendours and deep pockets of rural poverty and injustice, totters alone, unwilling to accede to India, and fighting Communist insurrection within. Philip, â€˜the worldâ€™s youngest headmasterâ€™, has been appointed from Australia to a one-teacher school in the distant town of Warangal, a post no Hindu will take. There, he meets Anand, a Congress Party member working to bring Hyderabad into the Indian Union, and Ragini, a landlordâ€™s daughter and a Communist, who has given away the family lands. A love triangle develops as events sweep them upâ€”events that will return to life and take their toll half a century later.
The Last Candles of the Night is a lyrical and moving tale of the unpredictable progress of love, the pitfalls of memory, and the costs of deep allegiance.
Ian Bedford was a Sydney-based writer who lived and travelled extensively in India, Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia. He worked for many years in the Anthropology Department at Macquarie University before turning to fiction writing. He wrote four novels: The Last Candles of the Night (2014), The Resemblance (2008), A View from the Bund (1990) and The Shell of the Old (1981). Ian Bedford passed away in March 2015.