Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Hungry Tide

Initially reviewed here

Author: Amitav Ghosh

A friend of mine had given this book to me, authored by Amitav Ghosh, about a year and a half back. Due to lack of time I was never able to read it and didn't carry it to ISB either. I just found it yesterday lying in my cupboard and started reading it in the morning and just couldn't keep it down till I finished reading it in the night... True to all its reviews, it's really fascinating!

I developed an interest in indian fiction after I read Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake" and "The Interpreter of Maladies". I had heard a lot of praises about Amitav Ghosh's writings from friends who've read his books... this was the first time I was reading his works.. and I am glad that I picked up this novel. It does take a lot of effort and talent to create that undying interest in a novel, for the readers and Amitav Ghosh is one such novelist. I have all praises for him!

The Hungry Tide - is a simple story told in a very vivid way. The author's attention to details, the style of description, the choice of words all created a moving picture in my mind. The story is set in the archipelago of islands near the bay of bengal, called the Sunderbans and the backdrop of the refugees from Bangladesh coming to India. The story revolves around the 3 main characters Kanai - a delhi businessman and a translator, Piyali - an American Indian in search of the rare river dolphins and Fokir - a local fisherman..... the story is all about their encounters in the tidal country. The characters portrayed are very intense and memorable and the emotions described are very subtle and touching. This ain't a thriller - there is no constant suspense or action but this does not slow the pace of the novel! However, towards the end of the book there is too much detail on the scientific research about the dolphins which could have been cut short.. but that doesn't pull the novel down in any way..If you want to see the Sundarbans painted vividly in words and know a bit of history and myths about the refugee camps and the dolphin species amidst those intense emotions of love, hatred, trust, faith, pride, jealousy...... then this is the book to read!

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