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The Coffer Dams

The Coffer Dams

Kamala Markandaya
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Clinton, founder and head of a firm of international construction 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 project, which involves working in daunting mountain and jungle terrain, within a time schedule dictated by the extreme tropical weather. Inevitable setbacks occur; accidents and friction among the mixed labour force present further complications. But to Clinton the building of the dam is more than a challenge; it is an obsession—not, however, shared by Helen.
Appalled by her husband’s concern with structures rather than with men, she turns to the local Indian tribesmen, finding in them the human values she finds lacking in the British camp. With relations between the Clintons becoming increasingly raw-edged, the first rains fall and, as the torrents sweep the valley and the level of the river rises, so does the tension in the beleaguered camp. The vital question looms: to breach the coffer dams, or allow them to stand, thereby placing the lives of the tribesmen in jeopardy. It is a fundamental question that splits the camp exposing the lingering prejudices of a bygone colonial era.
First published in 1969, The Coffer Dams is vintage Kamala Markandaya, a pioneer who influenced many Indian writers in English.

Imprint: India Penguin

Published: Jun/2008

ISBN: 9780143102120

Length : 240 Pages

MRP : ₹250.00

The Coffer Dams

Kamala Markandaya

Clinton, founder and head of a firm of international construction 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 project, which involves working in daunting mountain and jungle terrain, within a time schedule dictated by the extreme tropical weather. Inevitable setbacks occur; accidents and friction among the mixed labour force present further complications. But to Clinton the building of the dam is more than a challenge; it is an obsession—not, however, shared by Helen.
Appalled by her husband’s concern with structures rather than with men, she turns to the local Indian tribesmen, finding in them the human values she finds lacking in the British camp. With relations between the Clintons becoming increasingly raw-edged, the first rains fall and, as the torrents sweep the valley and the level of the river rises, so does the tension in the beleaguered camp. The vital question looms: to breach the coffer dams, or allow them to stand, thereby placing the lives of the tribesmen in jeopardy. It is a fundamental question that splits the camp exposing the lingering prejudices of a bygone colonial era.
First published in 1969, The Coffer Dams is vintage Kamala Markandaya, a pioneer who influenced many Indian writers in English.

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Kamala Markandaya

Kamala Markandaya (1924-2004) was born in Mysore. 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 was the first of ten to be published in her lifetime. Nectar in a Sieve and A Handful of Rice continue to be taught in universities in India and abroad.

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