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Set amongst the islands and mangrove forests of the Bay of Bengal, an extraordinarily hostile place where the tides reach more than a hundred miles inland, people have eked out a living probably unchanged since time began. Now the possibility of development threatens. A big multi-layered Indian saga, rich, exotic, fascinating.
Comparison: Tash Aw, Vikram Seth, Rani Manicka.
Similar this month: None.
An Indian myth says that when the river Ganges first descended from the heavens, the force of the cascade was so great that the earth would have been destroyed if it had not been for the god Shiva, who tamed the torrent by catching it in his dreadlocks. It is only when the Ganges approaches the Bay of Bengal that it frees itself and separates into thousands of wandering strands. The result is the Sundarbans, an immense stretch of mangrove forest, a half-drowned land where the waters of the Himalayas merge with the incoming tides of the sea.
It is this vast archipelago of islands that provides the setting for Amitav Ghosh’s new novel. In the Sundarbans the tides reach more than 100 miles inland and every day thousands of hectares of forest disappear only to re-emerge hours later. Dense as the mangrove forests are, from a human point of view it is only a little less barren than a desert. There is a terrible, vengeful beauty here, a place teeming with crocodiles, snakes, sharks and man-eating tigers. This is the only place on earth where man is more often prey than predator.
And it is into this terrain that an eccentric, wealthy Scotsman named Daniel Hamilton tried to create a utopian society, of all races and religions, and conquer the might of the Sundarbans. In January 2001, a small ship arrives to conduct an ecological survey of this vast but little-known environment, and the scientists on board begin to trace the journeys of the descendants of this society.
'An exceptional writer.' Peter Matthieson
‘A novelist of dazzling ingenuity' San Francisco Chronicle
'A distinctive voice, polished and profound' Times Literary Supplement
'An absorbing story of a world in transition, brought to life through characters who love and suffer with equal intensity.' JM Coetzee
'Ghosh is one of the most sympathetic post-colonial voices to be heard today. He looks at love and loyalty, and examines the question of Empire and responsibility, of tradition and modernity.’ Ahdaf Souief
'Ghosh has established himself as one of the finest prose writers of his generation of Indians writing in English' Financial Time
'Amitav Ghosh is such a fascinating and seductive writer…a deeply serious writer, sure of his human and historical insights and confident in his ability to communicate them. I cannot think of another contemporary writer with whom it would be this thrilling to go so far, so fast' The Time
Publication date: 03/05/2005
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
|Publication date:||3rd May 2005|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,|
|Collections:||60+ Novels to Bring You Back to Nature,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Amitav Ghosh was born in India and spent his childhood in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and northern India. He was educated in Delhi, Oxford and Egypt and has taught in a number of Indian and American universities. He is the author of a travel book and three novels. His work has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New Yorker, the Observer and the New York Times. He is married with two children and lives in New York. Author photo © Dayanita Singh - Dream Villa ProductionMore About Amitav Ghosh