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White Cargo A Memoir [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Felicity Kendal

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Book Description

Oct. 21 1999
Felicity Kendal was brought up in India, touring the country as part of a troupe of actors managed by her father. Aged 17, she came to England for the first time. This book describes that exotic upbringing in India and explains what an unusual effect it has had on the rest of her life.

Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio UK; Abridged edition edition (Oct. 21 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141801123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141801124
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 10.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White Cargo - A Golden Story Dec 5 2003
By binnsie - Published on Amazon.com
This book was quite a revelation for me as I have always been a fan of Felicity Kendall's TV comedy shows but had no idea that she grew up in India, where I spent much of my childhood at about the same time. Frequent references to places like Breach Candy in Bombay, and the Maidan and Chowringhee Road in Calcutta brought back vivid memories. So too did certain words and phrases like chowkidars (sort of watchman or servant), peons (messengers), dhobi (manual washerman or lady), chota pegs (small whisky's) and pye-dogs (loose unfettered mongrels, often rabid).
The descriptive writing is writing is evocative too and I quote the following passage from early in the book which aroused several senses in me: "A white mist hovered over the sprawling Maidan. In the early hours of the morning the dry grass looked lush with dew . . . the sickly sweet smell of the city had not yet taken hold of the day, and, in the cool air, the sounds of barking pye-dogs were still faint. Across the Maidan large black crows cawed and swooped at one another from the tall trees, and in the distance people walked and bicycled their way to work along the footpaths, municipal peons in their khaki shirts and bush shirts, pressed into starched creases that would not last till lunchtime, vendors in dhotis, their baskets of ware balanced perfectly on their heads, arms swinging freely in easy confidence." How brilliant is that?
This is not only a fascinating and entertaining autobiography but it is also entwined with the parallel story of Felicity's relationship with her father. The book carries a present day story line of her father lying very ill in hospital in the autumn of his life together with Felicity's own story throughout her life.
Felicity was taken to India by her parents as a baby as her father managed a travelling theatre specialising in the works of Shakespeare. The huge population of India together with their recent colonial British heritage meant that there was a potentially large audience the length and breadth of the sub-continent. The lifestyle of the family and acting troupe varied from splendid to meagre according to the cash flow and income generated by the performances. They boarded in splendour with Indian royalty on some occasions and in humble, if not run down lodgings on others. Felicity's first speaking stage performance was at the tender age of 9 and from then on that was to be her life. At age 18 she returned to England, against her father's will, on her own, to forge her own way in the world of theatre and found that England was a foreign country to her altogether. Never before had she owned a coat or worn gloves or stockings but the English climate dictated that she did so then. The cultural change was difficult to get used to as was the formal or strict attitude of the British compared to the more laid back philosophies espoused by the Indians.
The story takes us through her whole life from growing up in India and learning first to speak Hindi like a native, being top of the class later in Urdu, her love affairs and marriages, her motherhood, her extraordinarily successful role in TV's "The Good Life", her work with such dramatic giants as Ismail Merchant and Derek Jacobi through to the time of publishing in 1998. Throughout her life the constant threads are her family and India - two enormous constants. I look forward to, and will really enjoy, the sequel to "White Cargo" even if it is only half as good as the first.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The interesting life of an Icon Aug. 21 2004
By Guy Robison - Published on Amazon.com
Felicity Kendal's life is everything but ordinary. Growing up in India as part of a traveling theatre company managed by her parents left her with little option of education or career. Ms. Kendal describes her childhood in India, the feelings of not fitting in in her 'native' England and the struggle to find a place. The story begans as a one sided conversation with her ailing father in a long term care facility. Moving smoothly between the past and present, the reader experiences the difficult aspects of her childhood, her love of India, the death of a much loved sister, and finally finding a place in the theatre of London. A well written and insightful book. I would recommend 'White Cargo' to any fan of this respected british actress or to anyone who has experienced the illness of a difficult, but loved parent.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book July 5 2011
By Les - Published on Amazon.com
It was with great pleasure I read White Cargo by Felicity Kendal especially after watching her perform in Shakespeare Wallah.
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are a fan of Felicity Kendal, you'll love this book! June 8 2014
By Francis B. Morganti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My wife watches our Public Broadcasting Station in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She really enjoys the marvelous BBC productions. She has always enjoyed the extremely well crafted British comedies, dramas and mystery plays. Felicity Kendal appears in Good Neighbors and Rosemary and Thyme. I got this book as a present for my wife, she curled up with this book and read it from cover to cover. Then she read it again! She tells me that MS Kendal is living an amazing life; that is full of one amazing adventure after another. She loves this book; and is hoping for a sequel!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book About a Time Gone By May 11 2014
By Bill Kennedy, Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Even if you aren't familiar with Ms. Kendal's work, this is a book well worth reading. Raised by her actor parents, who toured India in the late 40's and early 50's with Shakespeariana, a fascinating look into acting and the collapse of the Raj. Her father, what a character! Features his hints on stage acting and why an education is a waste! Also an interesting take on raising children, not only to be independent, but also having "jobs" within the troupe. In this age of "helicopter" parents, the freedom she and her sister had is very different compared to today. Felicity became a very independent adult and made her way back to England to become a popular stage and TV actress. Merchant/Ivory based their film "Shakespeare Wallah" on the Kendal family (Felicity and her parents acted in the film). Got this book used in good condition (which it was), arrived faster than I expected and the shipping was so cheap!

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